March 21, 2006

SXSW Report #8: Luminous Orange @ Habana Calle 6

After the Double’s set, I walked to the Tonevendor/Clairecords showcase at Habana Calle 6. Tonevendor is my favorite online record store, hands down, and it was great to meet owners Dan and Heather in person after giving them so much of my money over the last few years. While I chatted with them, Japanese quintet Luminous Orange was on stage checking the sound. They played the introduction to the first song of their set over and over again until they were satisfied with the mix.

I have been a fan of Luminous Orange ever since I heard their most recent album Drop You Vivid Colours in 2003. That album (and the band’s music in general) is a seamless synthesis of every great noise, shoegaze and dreampop band of the 90s, from My Bloody Valentine to Stereolab to Sonic Youth. Singer/guitarist Rie Takeuchi writes pop songs of prog-like complexity, with an attention to detail and order that only Japanese bands consistently muster. Her band’s live show followed suit by sounding exactly like the records, but louder.

Their set drew mainly from Vivid Colours and the two EPs that preceded it, with a promising new song or two thrown in. Unfortunately, they exceeded their time limit and forced the soundman to cut off all of their microphones in the middle of “Starred Leaf,” my favorite song from Vivid Colours. They kept playing anyway, and even though Rie could barely hear her voice over the din of guitars, her pitch never wavered.

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