Ume, the Calm Blue Sea, the Black & White Years, My Jerusalem

Highlights from first half of Free Week

Jeff Klein of My Jerusalem
Jeff Klein of My Jerusalem (Photo by Shelley Hiam)

Ume, the Calm Blue Sea, the Black & White Years, My Jerusalem

Emo's East, Jan. 4

Two years since its inception, Modern Outsider has corralled an impressively eclectic roster of Austin talent, all on display for the local imprint's Free Week showcase. Emo's bowed to the dark bellows of non-Modern Outsiders My Jerusalem, fronted by Jeff Klein and airing out November's sophomore LP, Preachers, with a powerhouse set honed from touring with X. "Born in the Belly" surged with scathing riffs into the melodic "Mono," as Klein and his quartet controlled the stage with rock star aplomb, riding jagged bursts of "Sweet Chariot" into the crowd for closer "Sleepwalking." The Black & White Years lightened up the mood with jangled, synthesized pop, diving into its catalog on "Up!" and "Power to Change," while debuting a new tune from the locals' upcoming and long-awaited second album. The foursome still proved capable of surprising, with madcap quivers and turns on "To Modern Science" and the whistling "Two Reservoirs." Pummeling percussion into epic proportions, the Calm Blue Sea dislodged its post-rock with tension-tight builds from last year's Arrivals and Departures. The addition of deeply reverbed vocals served to accent their swirling instrumental climaxes without distracting, simultaneously hypnotic and jarring in release. As expected, Ume conquered the night, the trio erupting with a well-honed "The Conductor" as Lauren Larson flailed a vicious vision in white and wrestled her guitar across the stage. The lulling thrash of "Hurricane" and "Captive" crashed into the shredding wall from "Dancing Blind" and "Burst," cementing Ume, and Modern Outsider, at the top of Austin's rock pile.


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