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The Scarlet & Black

Three indie bands in Gardner on a very commercial night

Those seeking alternatives—or pre-games—to this Saturday’s Harris debacle should be excited for a concert by three varied and excellent bands from the East Coast. At 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 30, the Brooklyn-based psychedelic band Bear in Heaven will play in Gardner Lounge, with openers Sun Airway and Lower Dens.

Bear in Heaven cites such diverse influences as the post-hardcore band Lungfish and R&B singer R. Kelly, and perhaps because of this their songs are instantly accessible. Their music is reminiscent of early Pink Floyd, meshing otherworldly sound textures with grandly melodic choruses. The subject matter reflects the usual things bands from Brooklyn sing about—songs include “Lovesick Teenagers” and “Werewolves.”

Formed in 2003, Bear in Heaven consists of vocalist Jon Philpot, guitarist Adam Wills, and drummer Joe Stickney. Since the release of their most recent album “Beast Rest Forth Mouth,” in 2009, Bear in Heaven has been steadily growing in popularity and acclaim. Their album received a “Best New Music” award from Pitchfork Media, and many of their recent live shows have received rave reviews.

Sun Airway is an electronic band from Philadelphia whose music evokes recent Animal Collective, or chillwave contemporaries like Washed Out. Band members Jon Barthus and Patrick Marceill formed Sun Airway following the breakup of their punk band the A-Sides, and recently released their debut album “Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier” last Tuesday, Oct. 26. Their songs’ synthesizers and ambient soundscapes ground the airy vocals in summery and hypnotic vibes that exude tranquility.

Hailing from Baltimore, MD, Lower Dens plays a more traditional “indie rock” sound, somewhere closer to Pearl Jam than Ariel Pink, especially in contrast to the evening’s other two acts. They self-identify as New Wave on their MySpace page, and the tracks, melodies and words all seem subdued, building a greater tension on tracks such as “Tea Lights.”

In spite of the songs’ hyper-familiar sonic feel, Lower Dens keep their music somehow captivating, perhaps unsurprising as the band is signed to freak folk eminence Devendra Banhart’s label Gnomonsong. Lower Dens consists of vocalist/guitarist Jana Hunter, guitarist Will Adams, bassist Geoff Graham, and drummer Abram Saunders.

This Saturday, Gardner Lounge promises to be an entertaining and musically diverse event. Expect many trippy, ambient tracks to captivate the mind, beautiful melodies and a location that is—conveniently—really far from Harris. Wear your costumes anyway.

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