First, on Thursday October 14, Phantogram played at Neumos, with Anomie Belle and Josiah Wolf opening. I arrived a bit late to find Anomie Belle was just about to play some new songs, and I listened for a few, but stepped out to get some pizza. Josiah Wolf is a multi-instrumentalist who sang and performed on guitar and drums, accompanied by another musician on bass, bells, and backing vocals. His music was slow moody country/folk-pop, a bit like Mazzy Star, though lyrically more like the Mountain Goats. It was pretty, though not really my style, and I have to say I was impressed that he could sing, play guitar, and drum (he had a kick-drum and a snare) all at the same time. Phantogram's dreampop electronica, however, was just what I needed, and they sounded great. They played "Mouthful of Diamonds" fairly early, and it occurred to me that it may be deceptively light and sweet, as they can go heavy and dark with their other songs, such as set closer "When I'm Small". Their final encore song (which unfortunately I didn't identify) had a driving synchopated beat that reminded me of The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now", and I realized that would've been an awesome cover for them to do. I'm looking forward to hearing what they do next. Neumos is rarely kind to my iPhone's camera, but I took some photos of Phantogram from the side of the stage that I thought looked interesting at least; you can see them all, along with some of Josiah Wolf, in my set on Flickr.
Second, on Friday October 15, Film School played at the Sunset Tavern, with Hotels opening and the Depreciation Guild in the middle. It was a bit of an off night for Hotels, with half the band suffering various maladies and the sound seeming rather crappy even for the Sunset. Despite all that, it was still great as always to hear them, I never tire of it. The Depreciation Guild played good solid shoegaze/dreampop. Their songs weren't quite as catchy as I expected, and I figured there must be something about the album versions, but they were definitely lovely songs. They finished with "Dream About You", the tune that kept catching my ear on KEXP and making me say "wait, who is this?" I'm sad to have just discovered that they broke up after that tour, but pleased that at least I got to see them a second time. Film School focused on songs from their latest release, Fission, and I found them to be fairly straightforward rock, maybe some hints of dreampop but not really shoegaze. They did mix in older ones and I definitely preferred the more shoegaze style; the new songs were nice but not compelling. Regardless, they're still a fine band, worth seeing live, and I should still pick up Fission and see how it sounds.