While it might be slightly misleading, I don’t think the aptly titled Blonde Redhead had devious intentions in mind. Having built a sturdy, longtime foundation on the artful bedrock of noisy, resonant guitar drones, and off kilter tunings, Blonde Redhead earned a reputation as a kind of Sonic Youth lite over the years. But on their latest album, 23, the band favored dream pop, a la Zero 7 or Air. In this sun baked show at the McCarren Park Pool, the band leans hard on the hyper hypnotic, and for good reason. August heat waves have a tendency to release a wash of sweat tickling down the forehead and send one into a hazy headed half euphoria. This lounge ready performance for a bulging, half naked Brooklyn crowd is just the kind of intense, dramatic, and squinty eyed moment worth standing in the middle of an empty, concrete bowl on a Sunday afternoon in August for.
In this exciting, 30-minute blitz of footage, Baeble's Allison Hagendorf takes viewers from the front of the house to the back, in what was truly one of the hottest performances of last summer. - David Pitz
Blonde Redhead's noisy, dissonant guitars, alternate tunings, and quiet, stilted lyrics have often been compared to early Sonic Youth. After randomly meeting at an Italian restaurant in New York, Japanese art students Kazu Makino and Maki Takahashi and Italian twin brothers Simone and Amedeo Pace formed the band in 1993. The name was taken from a song by the '80s no wave band DNA. With Makino and Amedeo on guitars and vocals, Simone on drums, and Takahashi on bass, the band's chaotic, artistic rock caught the attention of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, who produced and released the band's debut album, Blonde Redhead, on his Smells Like Records label. Shortly after the album's release, Takahashi left the band. The remaining members continued as a trio, releasing a second album in 1995 on Shelley's label, titled La Mia Vita Violenta. For their 1997 release Fake Can Be Just as Good, recorded on Touch and Go, the trio was joined by guest bass player Vern Rumsey from Unwound. By 1998, the band eliminated bass and scaled back to guitars, drums, and vocals for In an Expression of the Inexpressible. Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons and the Melodie Citronique EP followed two years later. The band's first for 4AD, Misery Is a Butterfly, was released in spring 2004. For 2007's 23, the group opted for a mix of dream-pop and delicate electronic textures.