Vaselines, Jeffrey Lewis | Cat's Cradle | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week

Clubs & Concerts

Vaselines, Jeffrey Lewis

When: Mon., Oct. 11, 9 p.m. 2010

The band that was almost single-handedly rescued from the dustbin of history by Kurt Cobain's adulation has always deserved a better fate than obscurity. The Vaselines' mix of grit and beauty via scratchy guitars and singsong hooks seems particularly apt in these days of distortion-laden, lo-fi indie pop. The boy-girl vocals of Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee convey both lascivious desire and winsome innocence. Though they managed but 19 tracks in their four years of existence during the late '80s, their power is nigh undeniable, and their influence can be felt in the noisy twee of Slumberland Records (Velocity Girl, Black Tambourines) and later adherents like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Vivian Girls and Sic Alps. The Vaselines' recorded return, Sex With an X, has crisper lines and doesn't dance so close to the cliff's edge, but they still fashion songs with self-aware wit and forthright allure. Opener Jeffrey Lewis sounds like a less naf-ish Jonathan Richman, with his guileless tenor croon, sadsack acoustic guitar shuffle and sly wit. A product of the New York anti-folk scene, he followed 2005's fine album of Crass covers with the profound, engaging paean to existential angst and aging, 'Em Are I. —Chris Parker

Price: $15

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