Though he refers to the band in a plural sense Castanets have always been Raymond Raposa's singular, scattered vision, one that often finds him at a lightly marked cross road between down home Americana and viciously cut up noise rock. I've seen him many times, sometimes alone on a guitar, oftentimes backed by an unexpected collective of musicians (my favorites of which was a date two years ago featuring someone rapidly sampling found sound video cassettes alongside aux percussionists and a viola, as he delivered his confident warble on acoustic guitar.)
While he had a trumpeter onstage for a moment, it wasn't more than a brief heralding of a preciously short solo set (his sets always are short, in my experience). He used a big synth-sampler and relied heavily on a guitar looper, vacillating between his soft touch folk singer guitar bits and multi-textured moments of instrumental savagery, dissonant, often arhythmic synths rubbing abrasively with layers of intricate guitar work and, on top of it all, Raposa ripping out slow, loud guitar solos (maybe they're premeditated melody lines, I don't know.)
The Oh Sees, who come equipped with members of the Coach Whips, took the up tempo ingredients of the Velvet Underground's “European Son” and stripped it of its excesses, tumbling through a quick and dirty two-guitar n' drums set (and two singers), that induced fits of dancing in Silent Barn's basement.
Unfortunately, I missed Chen Santa Maria, Extra Life and Shooting Spires. Extra Life is great, Santa Maria seem to have a really good Sunny Day in Glasgow detuned noisebeat thing going, and I was particularly interested in BJ Warshaw's Spires project, being a huge fan of Parts and Labor. Next time…