As half of the creative duo Ultimate Painting, Jack Cooper was responsible for some tightly-crafted songs that were equally at home as comparisons to late-60s Kinks or at times the thuggish savagery of prime Spacemen 3. The band abruptly imploded just as their fourth and still-unreleased record Up was to be released, and he’s got new endeavor alive in its place. Modern Nature came to town on a very stacked pop/psych bill, with Cooper bringing along co-founder Will Young from Beak> on keyboards, Woods’ drummer Aaron Neveu, and saxophone player Jeff Tobias adding some very interesting texture to the mix.
They’ve just got the debut record and an EP, and ran through the LP in the sequence as released; Cooper giving a bit of humor when he asked the room to imagine that he’s flipping the record over before they went into “Nightmares.” The sound of Modern Nature is pointedly different than Ultimate Painting, with the bedrock a gentle motorik rhythm (especially prominent on “Nature”) that supports the gossamer threads of his songs. There’s repetition in the songs, but nothing (save the encore) lasted all too long, Cooper saying what he needed to and no excess. Some of the times his vocals recalled Alun Woodward, and while the pastoral/minimal feel of the songs is the dominant thread, the sax tones of Tobias really make them hum. Once all the songs from How To Live were played, the quartet reared back and delivered “Supernature,” a slow simmering brew that grew into a full-fledged boil. Welcome back, Jack!
Olden Yolk is the new project led by Shane Butler, ex-Quilt. I saw Quilt a few times as a support band and while they were pleasant enough, it wasn’t enough to grab me and make me pay attention to whatever came next. I guess I missed their breakup, but via the Spotify daily playlists, “Vital Sign” kept popping up and I really liked it the first time I heard it, and I listened to it plenty of times last year. Coming off as very British folk, it was prim, proper, neatly pressed and polite, but with an added dimension of verve that wriggled just beneath that perfect surface. “Takes One To Know One” would the song I’d press on neophytes though, a grower who slowly spins out more and more until the heavily fuzzed guitar lifts you up and takes you into their orbit. Bonus points for Ryan Jewell (Ryley Walker’s frequent tour mate) on drums, doing his best Marty DiBergi impersonation.
I got to the Lily Pad a bit late, sadly just in time for Carinae’s last song. This multi-faceted outfit from Western MA blends some bits of Tame Impala, Green Pajamas, Dukes Of Stratosphear and Pink Floyd. At least those were the fumes that I caught during the scant minutes I saw them, and I think it’s time for a full meal. Be on the lookout, because I will.