Published Thu, Sep 20, 2012 2:22 pm Dateline
If there are two things that undeniably add to the charm of any room, they’ve gotta be kitties and mops.
Casa Cantina benefitted from the presence of both during an odd Tuesday night show.
Sure, Sleepy Kitty's volume would send most felines running for the hills, and the mop in this particular case was actually local strat-janglers M.O.P. (no relation to the early 2000s hip-hop duo Billy Danze and Lil’ Fame), but you get the point.
From the get-go, M.O.P.--a girl-plus-three-guys combo-was impressive, especially when they broke into "Song for the Watercooler," a tune boasting delectable, moody guitar riffs.
Frontwoman Maureen Neer did little to acknowledge the sparse, yet somewhat-obnoxious Casa crowd and continued to howl through a drony, rocky set that was reminiscent of Deerhunter and Lonesome and Crowded West-era Modest Mouse.
Neer is an incredible guitarist. There is something vaguely amusing about watching a very pretty female of relatively short stature emotionlessly strut through a number of incredibly complex tunes.
The band moved effortlessly through much of their discography, making time to play "75," a gorgeous, melancholy drone-rock song that the band officially posted to www.mopmen.bandcamp.com in July.
M.O.P.'s self-described tag is "surf-rock time travel," a description that is pretty apt. Combining sharp telecaster riffs with serious distortion and a healthy dose of reverb, the result is rather like The Rivieras traveling through time, soaking up some Jesus and Mary Chain along the way.
St. Louis band Sleepy Kitty is a guitar and drum duo that specializes in gooey, sloppy dream pop, with guitarist Paige Brubeck and drummer Evan Suit sharing vocal responsibilities.
Sleepy Kitty is the sort of band you like immediately. When Suit tests his vocal mic by declaring the deliciousness of Casa’s enchiladas, you can’t help but be charmed.
Brubeck masterfully layers her vocals via foot pedals, giving the group a thick sound that seems larger than the two individuals banging it out. In fact, it's pretty easy to forget that Sleepy Kitty is a simple guitar and drum duo, ala No Age or Japandroids.
The band opened their set with the spunky song "Speaking Politely," which betrayed the pair's obvious affection for British legends The Fall. That influence is apparent in Suit’s drumming style, in which he pounds willy-nilly in the best post-punk sort-of-way.
The pair played a number of songs about their hometown, including a tune dedicated to their neighborhood.
"I don’t know what your neighborhood was like,” joked Suit, sweating in his colorful leopard-cub print t-shirt, "but however it was, ours was rougher."
Half of the time, Brubeck’s guitar riffs fell into a sort of hazy blues-rock category, but something about the coordination of the soaring vocals and Suit’s wild drumming moved them from any typical bar-band fare into something decidedly more interesting.
All in all, Casa Cantina enjoyed a fine show on Tuesday night, one complete with a handy-dandy mop and an incredibly adorable kitty.