As a committed omnivore, I’m very skeptical of meals that don’t include meat or fish. That is not to say I completely eschew vegetarian meals, just that I approach these meals with lowered expectations unless there are mushrooms involved (I love mushrooms like nobody’s business). The same is true for instrumental bands. I certainly don’t dislike instrumental music (in fact, most of the best jazz and electronica is instrumental), but instrumental rock music is a tough sell for me. In other words, I approach any instrumental rock band (especially a two-piece) with the same skepticism I approach vegetarian meals. And although I can be won over, the bar has been set pretty high by the awesomeness of Ratatat, Tortoise and Tenebre. For this reason, San Francisco’s Silian Rail had a relatively steep hill to climb in order to win me over. However, after catching a recent set opening for French Miami at the Rickshaw, I was easily won over as a fan.
Silian Rail is a two-piece instrumental act consisting of a guitarist (Robin) and a drummer (Eric). Their live performance is powerful. Although there are only two musicians on stage, Robin and Eric deftly craft complex melodies based around repetitive rhythms and melodies. Kinetic drumming blasts forward alongside muscular, yet intricate guitar work. Their “sound” is distinctive and compelling. Truthfully, their album, And I You, To Pieces, doesn’t entirely capture the explosiveness and energy of their live performance. Thankfully, And I You, To Pieces is still a compelling album. However, while the live performance is equal parts muscular and explosive, cerebral and intricate; the album is far more cerebral and intricate than it is muscular and explosive. And I You, To Pieces is a recommended purchase – head over to their MySpace page (link above) to pick it up – and definitely keep your eyes peeled for their next release.
In other local music news, there are a host of exciting live shows coming up in the next couple weeks for several Musical Pairings @ eating/sf approved local bands: Cousin Chris & Maus Haus. I’d highly recommend stopping out at both gigs:
~Cousin Chris *CD Release party* at House of Shields:
July 31st w/ Stencil (http://www.myspace.com/stencilmusic) and Skeletons w/ Flesh on Them (http://www.myspace.com/skeletonswithfleshonthem). The show starts at 9:30, $5.
Head back to eating/sf HQ to read Kasey’s review of Cafe Claude.