City Slang: Sound & Fury and Telecollision At Smalls

The lineup of bands on Friday night at Smalls in Hamtramck was impressive to say the least. Sheefy McFly kicked the night off and the whole thing came to a close with the last ever performance (apparently) from Derelikt Kraft, the oddball solo project of Jaye Thomas from the Rogue Satellites. In between was the equally glorious though completely different Sound & Fury and Telecollision. So where was everybody? What could possibly have been going on that was better than this? The insanely sparse crowd for this ridiculously awesome show only goes to show how tough venues have it right now. Happily, the bands didn’t seem to notice.

Sound & Fury are turning into something very special indeed. Their lo-fi, fuzzy, rock ’n’ roll mash-up sees them throw not-too-subtle nods towards Sonic Youth and the Velvet Underground (drummer Ashley James certainly seems to be influenced by Mo Tucker, both musically and stylistically), and yet they are creating something very much of their own. The three-piece has been playing a lot with the Ashleys, and that makes sense. Both share a sense for the “glorious mess”, the fantastic tunes hidden under a ton of filth and barbed wire. Even when they abandon one song midway through, it just seems like part of the show and how it should be. This isn’t a band that needs to over-rehearse. It’s the sloppiness that makes Sound & Fury, umm, furious.

Telecollision is no less impressive. They also create a good din, but their noise seems more orchestrated, more deliberate. In Nicole Ladendorf, they have a singer/guitarist who was born to front a band. Charismatic and witty between songs, her vocals on songs like “Bubbles” sound like a hyped up Beth Gibbons from Portishead, or even slightly like Delores O’Riordan from the Cranberries (if said Cranberries was a better band). Behind her, the band riff and play themselves with all of the energy they can muster, and the small crowd has little choice but to get carried along for the ride. There are elements of shoegazer in there, and certainly of ‘90s Brit-pop bands like Elastica and Sleeper. Whatever, they are phenomenal and this writer, for one, will be checking them out again soon.

Both Sound & Fury and Telecollision were magnificent, in fact. It’s just a shame more people weren’t there to see it.

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