Atlanta band PLS PLS will be bringing their dense synth pop wares to JJ’s Bohemia this weekend, and they’ll be sharing the stage with Nashville-based celestial funk peddlers Cosmic Shift and local progressive rockers Over Easy.
Tickets for the Saturday night concert are $10 and can be purchased at the door. The music will start around 10 p.m.
The architect of musician Dan Dixon, PLS PLS came about as the result of a feeling of listless creativity he experienced while performing with Dropsonic, a rock band with whom he’d spent countless nights on tour and whose borders were beginning to feel a bit confining. In an effort to restart his passion for music, Dropsonic was dissolved, and Dixon began writing songs for what would eventually form the basis of the debut release from PLS PLS, called “EP EP.” A handful of the songs on the EP were included on the soundtrack to the horror film anthology “V/H/S.”
Surrounding himself with a collection of Atlanta musicians, Dixon dug into the guts of PLS PLS and eventually released a full-length album, “LP LP,” which was distributed via El Camino Media in 2013. As the band began playing local and regional shows, their fan base began to grow; and with subsequent opening spots for bands like Har Mar Superstar, Gardens and Villa, Albert Hammond Jr., and Porcelain Raft, news of their buzzing, raucous live shows began to circulate well outside Atlanta’s city limits.
With the release of their new record, “Jet Black,” a few months ago, the band centered on a weighted synth pop aesthetic, filled with the kind of opaque and memorable melodies that would make Joy Division or Ultravox proud. Self-described as “making ’80s-inspired droning synth pop while only using live instruments” on “Jet Black,” the band committed to these dense pop landscapes with a frenetic zeal. The album was self-produced, although Dixon had already honed his production techniques by working on releases by CRX (Nick Valensi from the Strokes), Zac Brown Band and The Biters.
Nashville’s funk-fueled rock goliaths Cosmic Shift aren’t interested in keeping to the edges of your periphery—they want to jump into the spotlight and shake the world around you. Their extended jams pack in the wailing guitars, fevered vocals and looping percussion that people have come to expect, but they create these long-winded passages without drifting into monotony or losing their direction (which can be a hard obstacle to overcome for some jam-minded bands). Cosmic Shift, however, doesn’t approach their work as jam music; they simply let the music roam and bloom without restriction, ever so casually prodding it in the right direction at certain times.
In a live setting, though, the band doesn’t let the experience end for them where the stage meets their throng of fans. By viewing their audiences as just another part in the collaborative process, the band looks to involve everyone present. There’s a sense of overwhelming emotion and instrumental improvisation to their sets, which can’t really be accurately described but must be experienced in all their wild and ecstatic movements.
Local progressive rock outfit Over Easy will open the evening with some experimental sounds and rhythms, large chunks of thunder and lightning drawn from a host of metal, pop, rock and jazz influences. They’re able to connect the past with the present by arranging but not ignoring the tenets set forth by their individual inspirations. There’s a nonlinear musicality that the band revels in, a seemingly spontaneous eruption of tonality and melody that speaks to their gift in adapting complex sounds. Their music finds release in a wash of cacophonous creativity and endless enthusiasm. Their work is composed of a series of bright and often-unpredictable rhythmic motions that allows them to easily harness the manic energy of their various instruments.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.