Whartscape 2009, Sunday afternoon

Post Author: Nate Dorr

There were many, many bands, some of which you already know a lot about, including that Dan Deacon guy and Future Islands, and those Double Daggers. They played excellent sets, to be sure, but instead of talking about them again, here are a couple acts that you likely do not yet know about:

Ami Dang: No performer dove so unabashedly into pop, or was so instantly charismatic and catchy as Amrita Kaur Dang, dancing across the stage in a bright turquoise and pink dress, surrounded by bright rhythmic electro-pop vaguely suggestive (perhaps in part due to shared subcontinental heritage) of MIA. Clear-voiced and ebullient, on both apparent originals and a much-altered cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”, it is difficult to imagine Dang in any other context, but her tantalizing closing statement suggested that the day’s set was, in fact, rather removed from her usual work in noise. Sure enough, her Myspace, and existing press, confirm that far from emerging pop-star, Ami Dang is typically a member of Baltimore’s avant-garde, laying trained classical sitar over layers of drone and textured electronic feedback. This is a rare and promising combination, and absolutely one we should all be watching.

AK Slaughter: Frankly sexual hip-hop, delivered with charm, honesty, and a complete lack of affectation that sets them apart from more calculatedly “sexy” blunt hip-hop, bolstered by sharp beats and scratching.

Leprechaun Catering: No strangers to Whartscape, and certainly no strangers to the Baltimore improv/experimental circuit, Jason Willet’s Leprechaun Catering is a stumbling, playful clutter of slide whistles, tottering key licks, pots and pans percussion, and sproinging contact-mic-ed rubber bands. Rjyan “Cex” Kidwell first described them too me as “the Autechre of Baltimore”, which aptly captures their furiously deconstructed sounds and rhythmic outbursts, but doesn’t come close to hitting on just how organic and fun they actually are, especially as compared to the austerely robotic Autechre.