I had the pleasure seeing Sydney-based Youth Group at T.T.’s back in April. Very impressive. With a strong focus on the considerable songwriting and vocal abilities of Toby Martin (who also plays guitar), he’s joined by Danny Allen (drums), Cameron Emerson-Elliott (guitar) and Patrick Matthews (bass). They’ve been performing together since the late nineties, with a big following in Australia, having supported such artists as Elliott Smith and The Strokes. They became better known here in the U.S. when they toured with Death Cab For Cutie. Their music has been compared to Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Matthew Sweet, and the aforementioned Death Cab. Toby Martin cites Teenage Fanclub as a strong influence.
They’ve released four albums – Urban and Eastern (2001), Skeleton Jar (2004), Casino Twilight Dogs (2006) and their most recent, The Night Is Ours (2008). The latest was recorded in an abandoned 1920s mess hall on Sydney’s harbor, and was inspired by the brooding industrial ruins and ship sounds in the distance. The music is lush and atmospheric, with Martin’s introspective lyrics at the forefront. At times moody and melancholy (bands such as The Church, The Smiths and Joy Division come to mind); at other times more upbeat with hints of early English folk music (as on “Babies In Your Dreams”), with tasteful touches of horns, strings, and pedal steel guitar. Highly recommended, as is their live show!
Note: this particular evening also features The States, and while I’m not very familiar with them, they’ve been highly recommended to me by others, so definitely a great chance to see both bands. Also performing: Boston-based The Honors and Leo Blais, from Lowell (both sound quite good at first listen). This might just be one of those rare “four bands, all great” shows…
A video collaboration with the artists Ms&Mr
Youth Group East Coast Dates
Oct 9 2009 ~ 8:00P ~ Smiling Moose Upstairs ~ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Oct 10 2009 ~ 8:00P ~ Pianos ~ New York, New York
Oct 13 2009 ~ 8:00P ~ Maxwell’s ~ Hoboken, New Jersey
Oct 14 2009 ~ 8:00P ~ Silk City Lounge ~ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Oct 15 2009 ~ 8:00P ~ The Space ~ Hamden, Connecticut
Oct 16 2009 ~ 8:00P ~ T T The Bears ~ Cambridge, Massachusetts
Oct 19 2009 ~ 8:00P ~ The Ottobar ~ Baltimore, Maryland
Oct 22 2009 ~ 10:00P ~ Fontana’s (CMJ) ~ New York, New York
Oct 25 2009 ~ 8:00P ~ Littlefield ~ Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York