On Sunday morning we drove from Vermont to New Hampshire and saw lots of frozen creeks. The NH show was in Newmarket but we didn’t know anything to do there so we drove to Dover for the afternoon and sat around at Adele’s coffeeshop. At Adele’s Joe was looking through some old photos for an article someone is writing about his record label Don Giovanni which turns 10 this year. (This tour ends in New York for the Don Giovanni 10-year anniversary showcase.) Joe looking through old photos led to Katie and Joe showing me photos from their last 10 years playing DIY/punk shows around the country: one from the day PS Eliot met Screaming Females, one from the day Joe went to DC and told Screaming Females he’d kill himself if they didn’t let him release their LP, a photo from one time PS Eliot played at the fest, another from their first show at the Democracy Center in Cambridge, etc.
After that trip down memory lane we drove to a gas station to buy beers and then to Newmarket for the basement show Waxahatchee and Modern Hut were playing. Fun fact~ this show was actually at Phoenix contributor Sam Ueda’s
house, who sometimes writes a column for us on New Hampshire bands.
“I don’t know about you but I’m glad that instead of watching Beyonce at the Super Bowl halftime I get to watch Waxahatchee,” said the singer of one of the openers, Betty Nico, a young pop-punk band from the area who I maybe begged to come play at my house later in the night. They have a new record in the works, here’s a song from it:
Cool With Whatever by Betty Nico
I think this was the best Modern Hut set of tour so far. Most of the songs he’s been playing are from a full-length LP that he promises will be out sometime by the end of 2013. The record has been in the works for over five years; Joe’s recorded it and re-recorded it several times over the years. By now I’ve heard three different versions but I’m told more exist. A couple of years ago on my music blog I interviewed Joe about his music and something he said about the songs resonates with me still whenever I’ve heard a Modern Hut show:
“A lot of songs are very whimsical and carefree. They’re all about surfing and hanging out and partying, and all of these things that life really isn’t. I’m just trying to write songs about the things you actually do in life.” (While I'm plugging stuff about Don Giovanni on my old music blog here's an amazing guest mixtape Joe once made us that is entirely worth downloading.)
Katie’s Waxahatchee set on this night was particularly special, too. There’s something about the darkness of a tiny, packed-out basement show that amplifies the intimacy of her songwriting. Like all of her shows on this tour, she played through songs with solely an electric guitar and her voice, except for on “Peace and Quiet”, where Ezra (from Betty Nico) and Sam (whose house this was) joined her on bass and drums. Stream a recording I captured with my iPhone below as well as a recording of one of my favorite new Waxahatchee songs, “Swan Dive” -- a crushing song that distills some of her lyrics most piercing themes: indifference, growing up, vices, transience. (“Won’t you sleep with me / every night for a week / won’t you just let me / pretend this is the love I need”.) It’s one that’s been soundtracking my life ever since the fall, when her forthcoming album first started to get under my skin.
RELATED:~ Waxahatchee tour preview~ Tour Diary: Waxahatchee and Modern Hut in Burlington, VT, 2/2/13