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Manhattan Love Suicides @ House of Shields 3/27/09

Manhattan Love SuicidesIt’s a rare thing for bands to come along and really excite my interest in new music. The Manhattan Love Suicides are one of those rare cases. Hailing from Leeds, England, their sound blends C-86 style indie pop with noisy Jesus and Mary Chain style guitars. The Manhattan Love Suicides were in the US for this year’s SXSW Festival and made a stop in San Francisco before returning to their home country for a tour with British sounding New York-based buzz band, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

In true C-86 fashion, the members of the Manhattan Love Suicides go by their first names on their albums: Caroline (vocals), Darren (guitars), Adam (bass), and Rachel (drums). The band’s name is from a 1985 short film by Richard Kern, a New York filmmaker described by AllMusic.com as someone “who no one has actually thought about in close to two decades.” I had high expectations for this band from the few songs I heard off their 2006 self-titled debut and the 2008 compilation Burnt Out Landscapes.

My expectations for the Manhattan Love Suicides were high, but were not let down by their performance. However, I was a bit surprised to see how tiny the House of Shields’ second floor was. This rather intimate performance space was actually not a bad place to enjoy the band’s excellent music. There was a lack of interaction with the audience, and generally short transitions between songs. Otherwise, it was great to see a professional and talented band in such close quarters. They sound a bit like the Primitives at times, and even the Raveonettes with their minimalist noisy surf rock.

Opening band Anderson Congress from San Francisco sounded (as my friend described them) “like all the bands my friends were in in high school” – though with a slightly indie pop sound. They weren’t particularly good or bad, but I was just glad their set was short so I could enjoy the band that I really wanted to see. I noticed that Rachel (who wore a Pains of Being Pure at Heart shirt) of the Manhattan Love Suicides was recording some of their performance with a camcorder. Also, Adam (the tall lanky bassist) was watching them too.

Both bands played extremely short sets, but the Manhattan Love Suicides really left me wanting to hear more. They’re bringing back a sound that is both familiar and unique, which is not easy to do well in modern music. I hope to hear a lot more from this band in the future, hopefully sooner than later.

Setlist:
Keep It Coming
Never Far From You
Misery City
You’ll Never Get That Guy
Veronica
Heat and Panic

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