! = recommended
* = all-ages
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There are so many reasons to join us at the Crocodile to mark its grand re-opening in imaginary style. But one of the reasons I'm most excited is the chance to see my newest favorite band, iji (pronounced eehee), take the swank new Crocodile stage.
From the moment their cd In Celebration was sent my way, I've been blissed out on their sweet lo-fi indie-popness. At the forefront of iji's songs are Zach Burba's fragile angst vocals (ala Bright Eyes) that naturally mesh with a backdrop of traditional indie-pop punctuated with organ, autoharp, sax, and other auxiliary niceties. The songs are concise (the album is 11 songs long, totaling only 25.52 minutes) and they swing and sway between a mass of influences that will make any Vampire Weekend fan's head spin.
One of my very favorites on the album is "Giant Bite" with its avalanche of Neutral Milk Hotel Wall of Sound that marches into a stream of consciousness melody punctuated with screams, jangling guitar, and soft whispers here and there. "Recovery Bed" grabs me with its steel drum effect that nods to vintage ska before quickly progressing into flashes of fever-induced hallucination imagery--only to collapse into beaten distorted end refrain of "Please remove me from this setting." It's an unexpected road to joy from comfortable to unexpected to full realization. (Listen to some songs on the iji MySpace page.)
On stage, the sextet wrap the audience into their leisurely house party vibe with disarming timid banter and coy humor. Their songs take on a whole new life as they flow effortlessly with palatable giddiness that is their hallmark stamp of beguiling modesty.
Full disclosure, TIG-staffer imaginary keenan is also a member of iji... which is actually quite convenient for me. When I talk endlessly about how great iji is and how much I love them and show up at their shows (standing up front), it actually looks as though I'm merely supporting some friends and their band. In actuality I'm freaking out inside trying not to say something stupid and eyeing the merch table for any and all the iji stuff I can get.
This Saturday doors are at 8p and iji will take the stage promptly at 9p. Among the other reasons to show up early:
See you up front!
(Thanks for the photo, Amelia Gyde)