Cincinnati jazz-inflected post-rock trio Us, Today returns to town for a performance at Brothers Drake on Thursday, April 2nd. Quirky local quartet and 90s pop re-visionaries Insane Jazz Posse will play an opening set at 9pm, and the cover is $5. When I caught up with vibraphonist Kristin Agee in the fall, Us, Today was preparing their new album T E N E N E M I E S for release, and that process has since resulted in a product that they want to share with the world. The band is holding their release party this Thursday at the Woodward Theatre in Cincinnati, with opening sets from the Mike Dillon Band and Don’t Fear the Satellites. Their Columbus show kicks off a 12-day release tour that sees the band play NYC and various points between. The concept behind T E N E N E M I E S is the band’s realization that, as Agee explained to me this week, “we’ve made a lot of great friends, fans, and we have greatly enjoyed sharing our music with people. But along the way, we’ve accidentally made a few ‘enemies.’ And in the end, it really doesn’t matter. We will keep making our music, and performing it for the people who enjoy it as much as we do.” The band relayed this idea to poet Scott Holzman, who created three spoken word interludes that serve as narration for an album of forward-thinking modern music.
Other than the interludes, T E N E N E M I E S is seven full-length instrumental tracks that can be described as “post-rock” but betray a myriad of influences and touchstones. Agee’s minimal yet melodic vibraphone, Joel Griggs’ pointed guitar lines, and Jeff Mellott’s thunderous yet controlled work on drums and percussion are all wonderfully musical on their own merits, but when combined, they are an efficiently tuneful machine. Opening tune “It Comes With Consequences” has the sparkle of the vibraphone out front, but all elements swirl together and show the band’s ability to build drama through understated tension. “Le Duex Le Duex” progresses similarly, resulting in an electronic jam that turns on a dime and is briefly danceable! The clockwork rhythm of “The Compulsion of Picture Taking” is eventually juxtaposed with squelching electronics and keyboards that ascend to a hazy peak, and finale “Long Since Forgotten” reaches a final climax where the entire trio turns up the drama before fading into the twilight. T E N E N E M I E S is a focused collection that will please the open-minded listener with its economical approach that doesn’t skimp on excitement.
Looking forward to a night of great tunes! Here’s a video of “Long Since Forgotten,” along with live footage of a recent performance, to help with your preparation: