[The weekend's Culture Collide festival was all about sampling wares from all over the globe. You couldn't get to everything, but your faithful Buzz Bands honcho, along with contributors David McKay and Addy Danti, submit these quick impressions from Friday night. Photo gallery from the Echo/Echoplex sets by Laurie Scavo.]
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Who: The Besnard Lakes
In three or fewer words: Transcendent guitar scapes.
What’s the big deal? A little bit of your favorite British shoegazers, a little bit of Sabbath, some soaring harmonies that counterpose all the reverb and guitar dissonance … oh, my. The Montreal quartet built around the husband-and-wife of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas stole the night with their Echoplex set. They may look like rural ma-and-pa hippies, but shame on you if the judge the Besnard Lakes by anything except the rapturous psych-rock music on their last two albums, “The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse” and “The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night.” — Kevin Bronson
In three or fewer words: After the rave
What’s the big deal? Once heralded as pioneers of the defunct U.K. “new rave” scene, Klaxons are somewhat struggling to find their place in 2010. The singles from the London-based quartet’s debut LP “Myths of the Near Future,” especially breakout hit “Golden Skans.” were greeted with enthusiasm by a packed house at Echoplex, but the more guitar-oriented material from this year’s “Surfing the Void” follow-up didn’t quite reach the same lofty heights. — David McKay
Who: The Boxer Rebellion
In three or fewer words: Britpop, refreshed
What’s the big deal? The black-dressed U.K. quartet fronted by Tennessee native Nathan Nicholson have been do-it-yourselfers for too long. After two albums on their own (one indie record that moved a boatload of downloads on iTunes), they have another in the works — danceable, emotionally charged Britpop reminiscent of the early material by Editors. It’s music that never quite goes out of fashion, and to a steamy, packed house at the Echo, the Boxer Rebellion played it crisply, with aplomb. There’s probably a radio single or two there, too. Stay tuned. — K.B.
Who: El Guincho
In three or fewer words: We are the world
What’s the big deal? Pablo Diaz-Reixa, aka El Guincho, is absolutely obsessed with producers and engineers. Before making his latest album, “Pop Negro” (Young Turks) he spent months studying the production teams behind American and European radio hits from the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s, dissecting what they did to create such big sellers and employing the same techniques in his own production. The result is a beyond palatable soundtrack to the city or a sunny day, part world-music, part dance-music, 100% energy. The band took a long time to set up and there were obviously still sound issues when they started, but once they did, the energy was unmistakable. Several at Spaceland knew the words and within the first few bars the entire crowd was mesmerized and happy to be with El Guincho for a Friday night. — Addy Danti
In three or fewer words: Runaway Spanish pop
What’s the big deal?: Energetic garage rock, rehearsed to the split second, with trade-off boy/girl vocals. This Spanish via Argentina three-piece is obviously well-studied as far as late ”70s noise-pop goes — Martin Guevara channels Iggy Pop while his bassist counterpart Coni goes for Cherie Curry, and drummer Ignacio Villarejo doesn’t miss a single beat. Hooky, catchy, party music. — A.D.
Who: Land of Talk
In three or fewer words: All together now.
What’s the big deal? Last year, Land of Talk frontwoman Elizabeth Powell cancelled a tour and needed a six-month hiatus to recover from a hemorrage vocal pylp. Happily, the singer/guitarist is fully recovered, and could easily have commanded the Echoplex stage last night alone. As it was, however, the songs from latest Saddle Creek full-length “Cloak and Cipher” really took flight thanks to the ebullient communal spirit on display from a six-piece backing band that featured a cameo from Besnard Lakes’ Jase Lasek. — D.M.
Who: Gold Lake
In three or fewer words: Roots-Wave
What’s the big deal? Lead singer/sometime bassist Lua Rios has a big, gorgeous voice that ventures into Americana territory while the band behind her makes delicious, jangly synth melodies — an unexpected combination of things you already know and love. The Brooklyn-based quartet, originally from Madrid, Spain have a charming, edgy stage presence and a pop sensibility that soars. You’ll definitely be hearing more from them. — A.D.
Who: Amusement Parks on Fire
In three or fewer words: Crescendo bender
What’s the big deal? The U.K. quintet, well-known in local circles due to their having spent a long time in L.A. recording their new album “Road Eyes” (on Filter’s label) and their kinship with Silversun Pickups, saw their guitar assault turn to mush in the Echo mix. At their best, Amusement Parks swathe big pop choruses in waves of ambient and prickly guitars and reverb — and it sounded great outdoors at Sunday’s Culture Collide finale. This was not their night, but there will be others. — K.B.