Hello Coco fans! Hope everyone has been staying warm with lots of great music! I certainly have been trying to and am finally ready to share one of my last adventures with you all! On December 3rd I headed up to Philly, city that I love, in search of a little dive bar called Ortleib’s Lounge. My mission, to check out a shoegaze band, Dead Leaf Echo, fronted by a fellow Stephen Decatur grad!
He is officially listed on their facebook page simply as Lg: Guitar, Vox, Keys; however, I know him as Lloyd Galyon (AKA Pancho). Pancho was the goofy kid who sat next to me in Spanish class and kept us all entertained, making us laugh in between congregating verbs and learning how to ask to use the bathroom in Spanish, “Pueblo ir al baño?” (the only way we were allowed to go)!
So, since I grew up and became a concert photo journalist and Lloyd Galyon grew up and became a rock star, I felt obligated to go check out his band and see what he has been up to! Other members of Dead Leaf Echo are Ana B.: Guitar, Vox, Keys; Kevin K.: Drums; and Steve S.: Bass. It was truly a pleasure to meet them all and see them perform.
I arrived at Ortleib’s Lounge just a little before the band, so I had just a few minutes to take it all in before people really started showing up. Ortleib’s is rich in local history and has its own unique and colorful story which I read about here @ http://hiddencityphila.org/2013/11/brewhouse-jazzhaus-ortliebs-lives-on/
before my visit. I was told it was small and, man, they were not kidding!
There was a lot of demolition and rebuilding going on all around the block but tucked in between scaffolding rafters and safety fences I finally found a small brick building with its famous red “O” above the window. There was a tiny side door, which reminded me of the small dutch houses we would tour on school field trips, that led into the front of the house. This consisted of four, maybe five, tables and a small bar that was only long enough to seat about a dozen. I very quickly found the restrooms, which were located just in front of a set of large, very old looking wooden doors; and there it was, I had found the venue! Just beyond those wooden doors, the space opened up to a fairly large space with a sound booth in the back near the large doors and a small, but adequate, stage on the far end.
Originally, a total of four bands were scheduled to perform, however, the headlining act, False Tracks, had to cancel, which left Dead Leaf Echo as the new headliner. The first band up was an indie psychedelia, garage, punk, basement, fuzz group called Secret Nudist Friends. They were full of fun, raw energy and I really enjoyed their set!
They are a bit on the harder side for psychedelia; therefore, I’m going to call them a psychedelia punk rock bank! Their whole performance was reminiscent of Television or The Ramones and felt very CBGB’s worthy. I really enjoyed their song “No One at the Mall,” which has a Ramones kinda of sound, with a catchy bass line and a silly, fun, chanty chorus that is just stuck in my head. I also liked the catchy sounds of “Something On Your Mind.”
You can find some of their music on Spotify; however, I had a chance to speak with them after their set and they indicated that their roster has changed a lot since the recordings on Spotify but they did play a lot of the same songs. Their current line-up is Maddy on guitar and lead vocals, Andy on bass and Brian provided drums, backing vocals and even sang lead on a couple songs.
It was very nice getting to chat with them and hope our paths cross again one day. I would highly recommend them for a fun night out! For more info please check them out on their Facebook and @ secretnudistfriends.bandcamp.com
Aster More was up next. They had a little trouble fitting all six members onto this small stage, but eventually figured it out and played a pretty good set. I was not at all familiar with their music and can only say that it was very experimental. They reminded me a bit of Sonic Youth with their screeching guitars and melodic vocals. They seemed to have a rather large, local following as their fans filled the space almost as awkwardly as the band filled the stage. You can find them on facebook and preview and buy their music @ astermore.bandcamp.com
Dead Leaf Echo had their way with us next. They took a little bit of time setting up their endless panels of effects pedals but they were well worth the wait. They played an incredible set and sounded better than any recording I’ve heard so far. Their swirling guitar sounds were perfectly woven through and in between their dreamy, constantly echoing vocals. Lg and Ana B. were very in sync with each other and their vocals harmonized very nicely. You got the sense that they are very in tune with each other and have a really good dynamic on stage.
Dead Leaf Echo has been making a name for themselves as a Brooklyn based shoegaze band. They have played over 160 shows nationally in just the last two years including SXSW (South by Southwest Conference & Festivals in Austin, Tex.), CMJ, NXNE, Northside Festival, Desert Stars Festival, Kalamazshoegazer Festival in Kalamazoo, Mich., and many, many more.
Shoegaze is a very literal genre of music which really describes the way these bands use such heavy effects pedals that they appear to be gazing at their shoes, when in fact, they are really just concentrating on which pedal to hit next. I would also have to label them as dreampop and/or darkwave because of their poppy, dreamy, yet sometimes dark and mysterious lyrics.
Their debut LP, Thought and Language, was released in 2013 and was mixed by John Fryer (Lush, NIN, Depeche Mode). In 2014 they released an EP entitled true.deep.sleeper and in 2015 they gave us the “Lemonheart” 7” single, which also has a cute little video available on YouTube.
“Lemonheart” is definitely one of the first songs I gravitated to and I was very excited to see them perform it live. They also performed their most recent single “I Will Do (Anything)”, which the group released on Nov. 4th as part of a collaborative project with another group called Did You Die. The single is one side of a split-cassette with a song by Did You Die featured on the other side. The single will also appear on their next album, which they hope to release later this year. I really loved this song and have posted a short video for you all to check out on our Instagram!
All in all, it was a very good night! I had a great time catching up with Pancho and discovering some cool new tunes for you all! If you too would like to hear a Decatur alumni, please check out Dead Leaf Echo @ http://www.deadleafechonyc.com
and you can stream now on Soundcloud, Spotify and more.