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Last week, the Brooklyn based guitar group DIIV announced their sophomore album Is The Is Are, the long-awaited followup to their spacious and dreamy debut album Oshin. Last night, the band took to Baby’s All Right to perform a set of unreleased material pulled from the forthcoming LP. Fellow Brooklynites Sunflower Bean, whose vaulting guitar lines and groove-centric bedrocks of rhythm share a similar aesthetic, performed an opening set for DIIV‘s midnight show. 

I have had the pleasure of seeing Sunflower Bean a handful of times over the past few months. Each experience is gratifying in its own unique way. The trio have a remarkable talent for translating the sharp definition of their Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP in a live setting, exposing the grittier, messier underbelly of sound thats emits rapt physicality and panicked urgency. Their opening set for DIIV was very clearly the best I’ve ever seen them sound, what might be a product of their seemingly ceaseless touring. The synergy shared between these three musicians appeared to be intuitive and utterly effortless, and the result makes for an overall more exhilarating experience. The band performed a new unreleased song following a delectably raucous rendition of their EP cut “Somebody Call a Doctor.” Watch it below.

At the start of their set, DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith announced that the band would not be playing any of their old songs. Fair enough. Nearly two years ago, I saw the group debut a new track called “Dust” at the Captured Tracks 5th Year Anniversary Festival, which felt like a more developed maturation of their original, alluring sound. The time since has done little to tease out that unruly, rapturous sensibility. Their first song was a dud. So was the second. Smith smugly chirping, “We’re DIIV. This is a new song,” between each and every track they played made it all so much worse. The band managed to break the lull of uninspired shoegazey guitar maneuverings with one noticeably uptempo, funk-laced track. But this was an anomaly. Their set (which sacrificed the integrity of their crisp treble for a chunky, over-imposing bass) was a hardly distinguishable blur of sluggish, droning, and inexpressive white noise. The music had the effect of making me want to leave early and go buy a cheeseburger. So that’s what I did.

Angel E. Fraden

Head Editor | DJ | Amateur Rave Maker | Photographer | aef351@nyu.edu / https://soundcloud.com/angelitofraden/ View all post →