By Lesley Grimm
Brooklyn’s live music scene hits a string of high notes in the month of February. This week, 24-7 turns up the volume on two bands that are rolling through our borough. Exit Clov and Warm in the Wake are both signed to Livewire, an Atlanta-based label that seeks to launch new artists with “musical integrity.” These two offerings deliver the goods. While their sounds are unique, both acts take shelter under that generously-sized genre umbrella of “indie-pop.” Both of these groups also feature musical siblings. It seems brothers and sisters that grow up together not only learn how to share their toys, they can create rockin’ good music too. Enter, Exit Clov This quintet spits out tracks that are both playful and intelligent, and so it should come as no surprise that these five smart cookies spring from the intellectual hotbed that is Washington, DC. After citing musical influences including Blondie to Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, your instincts tell you to expect a sound that is original and daring. Exit Clov is both of those things, and very likeable. The band is co-fronted by sassy identical twins Emily and Susan Hsu. These sisters that look the same also sound the same. They work their twin pipes to their advantage, creating memorable “super-tight harmonies,” as bassist Brett Niederman puts it. The sound on the band’s latest six-song EP “Respond, Respond” is hard to categorize, but the product seems to straddle eighties punk and a more-traditional rock vibe. Sugary-sweet vocals sit pretty on top of bed of Niederman’s impressive bass work and John Thayer’s infectious drum beats. Aaron Leeder’s guitar skills and effects pedal-power are showcased throughout, and run the gamut from funk to gritty rock. The band also weaves in a barrel of synth sounds too, giving the music a vintage flavor. The uber-talented Hsu twins also play violin, and they bust out their fiddles when you least expect it. With song titles like “Moving Gaza” and “Community BBQ”, the band’s lyrics drip with satire and politics. But Niederman points out their lyrics are all open to interpretation. “We’re very open to that,” he said. “Violent Berries” is featured in the band’s first music video and chills at a much slower pace. With haunting lyrics like “War is old, so we don’t know it now” and “Conversation’s old, makes my fingers numb” the song seems to make a strong and timely statement. Exit Clov is at their strongest during truly dance-worthy numbers like “MK Ultra” and “DIY”, and we’re told it’s these two tracks that get the audience all riled up during live performances. Catch Exit Clov February 18 at the Trash Bar, 256 Grand Street in Williamsburg, (718) 599-1000. Music starts at 9 pm, and Exit Clov is the third band on stage, playing at 11 pm. Cover charge is $6. “We’re definitely influenced by our geography,” vocalist Chris Rowell said. Rowell is one of four true southern charmers who go by the name of Warm in the Wake. Now Georgia-based, all four band mates call Alabama their home sweet home. That “down south” musical upbringing emerges in their debut EP “Gold Dust Trail.” The release is a relaxing radio-friendly fare of gentle and soothing pop songs. In their lyrical content, this band skips the heavy political messages and also sidesteps the familiar fodder of girls and heartbreak. Instead, the band delivers thought-provoking and nostalgic messages about the human experience. The opening lines from the EP set the tone: “I’m disassociative.. It’s not a problem.. Living downtown here with one another.” Growing up listening to their parents’ records, band members gained an early respect for legends like The Beatles, The Byrds and Pink Floyd. Fittingly, “Gold Dust Trail seems to pay musical homage to a psychedelic time gone by. Right on, man! Warm in the Wake’s musical chemistry is tangible, and with good reason. Bandleader Chris Rowell has been playing alongside drummer James Taylor Jr. since they were pubescent teens. Rowell and Taylor have paired up with another duo that goes way, way back: brothers Daniel and Andy Barker, on keyboards and bass respectively. Self-described as “simple American songs”, “Gold Dust Trail” mixes feel-good melodies and toe-tapping beats — with a good shake of country of course. The sound is an earthy blend of acoustic guitars, pedal steel and mandolin. Rowell’s vocals are instantly amiable and Daniel Barker shines on the ivories, especially on hit-worthy tracks like “Hearts Vs Heads” and “Golden Inhibition Destroyer.” And apparently the recorded version of WITW is just a tease of what to expect during their live show. The band is known for ramping up the energy on stage, and showcasing both the depth of their musicianship and the tightness of this group through musical exploration. “When you’re live, it’s such a different experience,” Chris Rowell said. “Dan’s keyboards are just phenomenal!” Warm in the Wake joins a lineup of bands February 23 at the Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 4th Avenue in Park Slope, 1-866-GOWANUS. Cover charge is $8, and doors open at 8 pm. If you miss them there, there’s another chance to see them February 25 at Southpaw, 125 5th Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 230-0236. Cover charge is $8, and doors open at 8 pm.