Monday, August 20, 2007

POPFEST Highlights, Part 2: Oh Sanders and Venice is Sinking

#3 Oh Sanders

Gainesville's Oh Sanders, led by Stella Leung, is another one of those bands which people were still talking about days into the festival, as though trying to mentally create a bookmark--this is one we shouldn't forget. Which is always nice to see; this was a festival where people were talking more about the discoveries than the headliners (well, OK, a lot of people were talking about Daniel Johnston, but you see my point). Oh Sanders specializes in addictive tunes and observant songwriting--listen to "Pirate Ship," on their MySpace page, for as complete a portrait of narcissism as you'll ever hear, but one you might almost tune out if you start dancing to the dazzling melody. Imagine the Cranberries fronted by Chrissie Hynde. "The State of Disorder," which you can hear below (thanks Stella), is the band at its best, a strident, gorgeous march that happily sticks in your skull.

Oh Sanders - The State of Disorder

#4 Venice is Sinking

I'd heard a lot about rising Athens stars Venice is Sinking, but never really sat down with their music until I saw them live at POPFEST, and was immediately hypnotized. I found myself accidentally front row and center, and counted myself lucky when I realized what a great band it was. VIS--Daniel Lawson (vocals, guitar), Karolyn Troupe (violin), Lucas Jensen (drums), and Alex Thibadoux (keyboard)--have crafted delicate songs which land with a crashing emotional weight. They're also stunningly beautiful pieces, which (here's the real surprise) sound as good live as they do on record. That record, Sorry About the Flowers, was released last year on One Percent Press. Seek it out immediately. They're perfect ballads for disappearing cities.

Venice is Sinking - Pulaski Heights

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