Portland – Portland was introduced to Shady Elders Monday night at the industrial district’s Rotture. It being their second stint in Portland, they were noticeably excited to be playing again. The four-piece border indie rock while managing to maintain an array of dark dream pop and shoegaze. Fox Rodemich sets their gloomier tone with her alluring, raspy vocals and the band’s mellow but tender approach to the genre. They aren’t all dark though, the moments of sincerity and sweetness are as frequent as the darkness. Shady Elders can draw the listener in with their seductive approach, and have continued to gain listeners as their sound has developed.
The group formed in 2011 and has fluctuated in number until earlier this year. Officially at four members, they are touring the west coast until late July. The Denver based band has released two EPs thus far, No Favors in 2013 and The Night Air in 2014. They’ve already supported The Antlers, Wild Nothing and Youth Lagoon. Their sound has only become more intricate as they’ve continued to produce, with a more brooding tone eventually becoming the backdrop of The Night Air. Their live show shows a commanding though timid presence, furthering the emotive quality of their music.
From the first notes that the band plays, it is apparent that Rodemich has a distinctive presence on stage; her voice is one of the most enticing aspects of the band’s sound. She has the skill to bounce back and forth between gloomy and airy. There are moments of softer harmonies matched with more ominous, but there is always a smooth balance. “The Night Air” began with slow, serene vocals and rose until it met steady guitar and gentle drums. “In July” was quite contrary with a surfy, upbeat guitar lead and subtle but expansive drums. Shady Elders has the skills to cast a shadow over their otherwise bouncy guitars, but it was the melancholy and the dreaminess in their sound that kept the crowd intrigued.
Shady Elders has created a unique sound. They employ echoing fadeouts, high-keyed and sparkling guitar and looping to understated but dazzling results. “In The Waves” used various instrumental elements that displayed a wider scope. The track started with a full-minute lead of simply Rodemich’s light harmonies and dominating guitars, with a subtle change in drums leading up to a more unrestrained sound. The first verse started in typical Shady style: “your main escape is us / you’re drowning in the flood.” The song focused on repetition in the lyrics and the eventual revert back to the song’s beginning, billowing at the ultimate fadeout.
The set included some of Shady Elders best tracks. We can only guess that there is more to come, hopefully, on an eventual full-length album. For now, the Colorado group is happy to tour and record. Their distinction from similar bands is clear. They merge genres and do so with an effortlessness that shows they are more than a passing phase. The band’s promise and skill is clear in their live show. Even though they had some sound difficulties, they were able to right themselves. It isn’t difficult to notice that Shady Elders are trying to go far, and have the talent to do so.
There are a few west coast tour dates left on Shady Elders ’s tour. Like them on Facebook for news on album releases and future tour dates.
Follow her on twitter in case she says something funny: @LikeTheStates
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