The Blank Tapes Play Sunny Music on a Cold Night

February 13th, 2014

The Blank Tapes – Mercury Lounge – February 12, 2014

Those exiting the late Mercury Lounge set from the Blank Tapes last night were walking straight into the first flakes of another snowstorm. It’s been the kind of winter where you just want to get away on a sunny vacation. Thankfully, Matt Adams and his Los Angeles band offered up a rollicking set of sunny California rock and roll to keep things warm … for a little while at least.

The set got hot early with “Uh Oh,” off the Blank Tapes’ newest album, appropriately titled Vacation, with the band balancing swirling psych with a throwback West Coast surf-garage sound. They featured several new songs, including a tantalizing number about extreme heat that had them harmonizing on “mister mister”—that is, the spritz of cooling water (if only!). Midway through, the endearing off-kilter harmonies gave way to more soaring guitar-fueled rock-outs.

“A’bergine” had the guitar riding a wave of Beatles-esque bass-and-drum rhythm. Things got a little darker and trippier with a song possibly titled “Long Black Tunnel,” which, with the repeated lyric “ride the wave inside your mind” and a wild machine-gun guitar solo, was either about surfing or psychedelic drugs, or maybe even both. The latter part of the set was filled with one “oh, yeah!” rock-out after another, the Blank Tapes doing their best to hold off the storm for as long as they could. —A. Stein

(The Blank Tapes open for Jonathan Wilson tomorrow at Music Hall of Williamsburg.)