A few months ago, I found out the IT guy at my work was in an electro band.
"Seriously?" I remember asking incredulously while making copies. As he illustrated the sounds of his craft for me, I was delighted to know such a decidedly different side of a dude who's prescribed to figuring out networking problems, not how much Moog to add. I love that about people; we're a multi-faceted bunch.
I've always seen Eric Frederic with his project Wallpaper, a spectacular venture of mirthful, sharp commentary and party band antics. But the faux bling, auto tune, and Ray Bans for the ages were put to rest for Frederic's other baby, Facing New York at Bottom of the Hill for their record release show. If Wallpaper is the wild child of the family, then Facing New York is the more contemplative but cunning older brother, who has a thing or two to say and show as well.
The new FNY record Get Hot took three years to make -- in between losing members, going back to college, and a couple of emergency trips to the hospital for Frederic's strained vocal chords, a collection of songs about the process of acceptance in the midst of the quarter-life crisis syndrome emerged. There aren't a whole lot of albums geared toward the 20s battle of identity and alliance, and Get Hot tackles both while providing some humorous elasticity.
While the set started out a little shaky -- "Get Hot Reprise" seemed pretty unrehearsed -- it was "Man Up" that began to tie the band together. With Omar Cuellar on skins and Brandon Canchola on bass, a gaggle of music major friends Frederic accumulated while at UC-Berkeley trickled off and on stage to support tracks with hints of a brass section, additional vocal harmonies, and extra energy to the indie-prog groundwork that had already been laid out. "Cops On Bikes" then kicked off what ended up being an extraordinary second half of a gig, with lines like "How you gonna bust me in them little shorts?" and "Ever since the womb/ I've been stealing/alright?" permeating eardrums. "Full Turn" and "The Messenger" were also great demonstrations about the school of indie rock.
But I think it was "Comin' Up" that appeared to surprise me the most out of the night. It almost had a jazz-like quality to it with its swanky keys and subtle blips of synth weaving in between a near pitch-perfect drumline, Frederic's vocals seemingly floating through effortlessly and flawlessly. It's a fucking beautiful song that definitely had the most body and soul live, and I hope that it's a direction FNY might later take.
Closer "Me n My Friendz" provided both cheeky and solemn anecdotes about figuring out, well, everything: Yourself, where you belong, politics, that girl. I couldn't help but smirk and then laugh at the sheer absurdity in it all. I went to the show with my oldest BFF -- we've been friends since the seventh grade, and at 24 both feel like we're approaching the "WTF stage" portion of life. Hearing a record like Get Hot now sorta makes things seem a little more sunnier. We're gonna be okay. Bring on 30.