Review: You Can Be a Wesley and Now, Now Every Children

VIDEO: You Can Be a Wesley live at T. T. the Bear's Place

If May is the month in which you typically hunt down your hot summer jam — and you’re not big on Auto-Tune — a quartet of Boston University students (just a few weeks shy of graduation) who call themselves You Can Be a Wesley may have the answer. “Creatures,” the set-ending song the foursome played at T.T. the Bear’s on Friday night, incited much drunken dancing, with appreciative yelps and limbs flailing, by what seemed to be the band’s sizable posse. Despite their obvious bias, YCBAW’s intoxicated pals were onto something: “Creatures” is a hook-fraught love letter to the guitar-heavy, indie-rock greats of the early ’90s (Pavement et al.), but not in a tired way. The song builds up momentum via lead singer Saara Untracht-Oakner’s anthemic chorus, then slows down at the bridge, just before she erupts in a burst of wails.

It’s “catchy as hell” according to Brad Searles, who helms the Allston-based music blog Bradley’s Almanac, and who hand-picked YCBAW to play this Almanac-hosted show. Searles started the Almanac back in 2001, in the days before a tsunami of music blogs flooded the Internet, and he’s been dutifully posting live concert MP3s and show recommendations ever since, becoming a quiet force on Boston’s music scene along the way. Despite the fact that he’s been chronicling his music obsession for nine years, this was only the second show he’s hosted; the first was a Film School show at T.T.’s last year. The occasion for this second ’Nac-fest — which included another Boston-based band, the Hush Now, an acoustic duo from Vermont called Let’s Whisper, and a Minneapolis band called Now, Now Every Children headlining — was “pretty straightforward,” Searles wrote on his blog. “I just want to see these bands play their songs for me. And for you.”

That sort of earnestness characterized the scene at T.T.’s, where Searles set up a table of free CDs and mini-cupcakes, YCBAW offered handmade, stuffed “Wesleys” they’d crafted in their tour van while traveling last summer, and Now, Now Every Children advertised free hugs. No surprise, the mini-cupcakes disappeared first. Now, Now are evidently very young (with black-markered X’s on their hands, and talk of their first-ever tour), but their music — electro-pop twee held together by the vocals of Cacie Dalager — was anything but juvenile. Dalager even calls the Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson to mind. Engaging as Now, Now were, by their final song, the crowed had dwindled, and the increasingly unavoidable Electric Six (playing the Middle East downstairs underneath us) rumbled us out the doors.

-- Caitlin E. Curran

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