Many bands are forced to admit that their best album was probably their first. Grooms can take pleasure in having just released their high watermark four albums in. That album, Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair, marries their sense of melody and pop appeal to a level of musical skill befitting a band that has stayed together long enough to see personnel come and go, but emerge stronger in the process. A three-piece, Grooms manage to make their music rhythmically complex (thanks in no small part to drummer Steve Levine, who recently enjoyed notoriety on TV’s Better Call Saul) without overcomplicating it, and that works especially well live. Watching the three men onstage, you more appreciate how their arrangements leave room to feel what each player is doing.
This show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, on a bill shared with A Place to Bury Strangers (that set here), celebrated the new record’s release, but didn’t park the setlist there. Starting with a rapid succession of new songs, Grooms then dug back in to 2013’s under-toured Infinity Caller and even their debut Rejoicer, the band gave us a sense of the continuity in their music as well as some of the new ideas percolating in Comb the Feelings. While the album itself is the band’s best-produced to date, adding lush electronics to the band’s guitar-bass-drums mix, the live versions proved that the record isn’t just a success on that account. Songs like the title track are more than just well put together; they’re just good songs. Grooms were one of many bands tied to Death By Audio (including A Place to Bury Strangers), and now, like their scene itself, they will enter a different phase. So far, it’s working for them.
I recorded this set with Schoeps MK41 microphones in the soundboard cage. The sound quality is quite good for a straight audience recording. Enjoy!
Stream “Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair”
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Schoeps MK41 (DFC, at SBD, PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>Sound Devices USBPre2>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>24bit/48kHz WAV>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects, EQ, imaging)>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (adjust levels)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 37:30]
01 Bed Version
02 Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair
03 Infinity Caller
05 Grenadine Scene From Inside
06 Doctor M
07 Lion Name
08 Foster Sister
10 Cross Off