“Dude, she is just like Phil Collins.” When I heard the music industry exec standing next to me utter those words, it took every ounce of my being not to laugh. Yes, Gena Olivier does sing and play the drums. If that means she is just like Phil Collins in his mind, so be it. Many of the industry folk in attendance this past Friday evening at NYC’s Mercury Lounge were there to see buzz band Benzos, but not me. I was there for one band only, Midnight Movies. Judging by the reaction of the crowd, Midnight Movies made many new fans Friday night.
Formed in Los Angeles in 2002, they have been wowing audiences during their sold out Monday night residency at Spaceland. My first taste of the band was with the release of their debut EP last year. Olivier’s vocals are slightly similar to Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, with a hint of Nico. In fact, if Stereolab had stayed on course after their 1996 album Emperor Tomato Ketchup, there is a good chance that they would have ended up sounding like Midnight Movies. That is, if Stereolab got a sudden fascination with horror films. It is that eerie quality that makes Midnight Movies so intriguing.
There is plenty of hype behind Midnight Movies, which made me a bit skeptical prior to the show. So many times, bands labeled as the Next Big Thing end up lacking, especially live. Friday night was an exception. Midnight Movies are the real deal, and I highly encourage all of you to catch them while they are touring with Clinic this fall. Larry Schemel’s wall of guitar, along with Jason Hammons’ keys/laptop, help create the perfect backdrop for Gina’s haunting vocals. The highlight of the performance was “Just To Play”, which can be found on their self-titled debut EP. From that moment on, Midnight Movies had the Mercury Lounge faithful eating out of their hands.
Make sure to jot down August 31, as Midnight Movies’ debut full length album will be released on Emperor Norton Records / Ryko. Get a taste of their upcoming album at midnightmovies.net.