Monday, April 19, 2010
Trans Am @ Knitting Factory + Thing
Ten years after I last saw them play in our hometown of DC, Trans Am is still sonically crucifying the post-rock competition. During an hour-long set at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory, the trio played with dedicated intensity while still keeping a lightness and humor to offset their chilled Teutonic synthfunk. The set included songs old ("City In Flames" off of 1999's Futureworld roared forth with divine precision) and new. In fact, tomorrow marks the debut of Trans Am's 13th release, Thing.
The new record is part muscular Man Machine, part montage music for an 80's action thriller. Live and on Thing, drummer Sebastian Thomson's voracious pummelling is the rock solid core of the band's sound. On "Black Matter" and "Arcadia" in particular, his heavy groove is situated seamlessly with the vocoded robot vocals that float atop the mix, swarming through hypnotic synths and unsettling guitar lines by Phil Manley and Nathan Means. Although it's been nearly 20 years since Trans Am started as an Oberlin college side project, they're still kicking out some killer (mostly) instrumental jams.
PH: Naomi Ramirez