Monday, August 12, 2013

Blanko Basnet releases self-titled debut at The Pinkhook with Speedy Ortiz & Organos

Photos by Justin Weber
“Album release show” may be slowly becoming more sales pitch than celebration to meet fan demand for unique concert experiences, but on Friday night at The Pinhook Joe Hall beamed with pride as his new band, Blanko Basnet, released physical copies of their debut self-titled LP out into the world for the first time.

The new songs written by Hall have a similar melodic lilt to his music in Hammer No More The Fingers, but the compositions are more thoughtful and intricate. Rhythms dance about on songs like “Fencing with Flies” and create an unpredictable sound that will peak listeners interest. Fans still mourning the loss of Annuals will find some solace in Blanko Basnet’s music.

While Hall is the driving force behind the music and lyrics, Brad Cook’s contributions on bass add intrigue to every song. He switches seamlessly between driving the underlying rhythm and providing the wonderful color to the harmonies. 

Blanko Basnet has only been performing live since June 27, but the group sounds like seasoned vets already. Made up of Hall on lead vocals and guitar, Cook (Megafuan) on bass, Jeff Stickley (HNMTF) on drums and Matt Peterson (Canine Heart Sounds) on guitar and keyboard, the band has enough experience and talent to make performing look easy.

Just before Blanko Basnet was another newer band, Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz. Every band member was compelling to watch in their own ways. Lead singer Sadie Dupuis is hard to pin down, seeming both aloof and engaged at the same time. Her eyes reflect the tone of her songs ranging from innocent and playful to anger and sarcastic. Vocally, she was able to match nearly all of the cracks and idiosyncrasies captured on the band’s recordings, most incredibly on “Plough” off their latest record, Major Arcana.

Mike Falcone is an animal behind the drum kit. The only person I’ve seen throw themselves more intensely at their instrument was guitarist Matt Robidoux. His guitar showed the wear and tear of the beatings he puts it through and it’s a wonder it made it through the show as he climbed on his amp, jumped off the stage and wailed on the strings. Unsurprisingly, both Falcone and Robidoux finished the set looking like they had jumped in a pool.

Maria Albani’s solo project Organos opened the show with a selection of songs mostly from 2012’s Concha. The performance felt haphazard to start. It could partly be blamed on the loud chatter in the back of the bar and the quieter nature of Organos’ music, but the group generally didn’t sound as tight as it should.

They settled in during a compelling rendition of “Side Girl.” With only vocals and clapping, the catchy chant caught the audiences attention which helped fuel the band through to a strong finish. 

Organos Set List
Fits and Fears
Same Eyes
Lazy Lessons
It’ll Never Come
Side Girl
Lit Up Rooms
At the End of the Ride
First Night

Speedy Ortiz Set List
Taylor Swift
Tiger Tank
Silver Spring
Cash Cab
No Below
Indoor Soccer

Blanko Basnet Set List
Fencing with Flies
Highlight Transparence
Nothing Left
Face Plant
Lost and Found

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