Spectre Folk / Kurt Vile / MV & EE / Pink Reason / Christian DeRoeck
Monster Island; Brooklyn, NY

“Do you want to hear it mellow or do you want a chunky version like Lil Wayne does?” Matt Valentine asked the crowd gathered in Monster Island’s basement, just a few steps from the East River. “Chunky!” someone shouted from the corner of the room.

Of course, drawing a link between the New Orleans rhymester and the "free folk" of MV & EE might seem a little absurd at first, but since Valentine brought it up, let’s roll with it: both are quite prolific, releasing a spectrum of releases that range from DIY to major label-linked affairs, and both have a morphing sonic territory that includes that very realm of chunkiness.

Valentine and Erica Elder were joined by two percussionists for their set, but the chunkiness really came from Valentine’s guitar stylings, which, whether acoustic or electric, have a thick, deliberate, but also natural sound. The duo focused on their latest release, Drone Trailer, kicking off with its opening track “Anyway” and finishing up with a swirling take on the title number, which progressed from a blanket of banjo noise to a soaring electric guitar outro.

MV & EE were by no means the only notable act of the night, though. Christian DeRoeck, formerly of Meneguar and Woods, kicked off the night, and Pink Reason followed, amping things up with dual guitars and drums. After Valentine and Elder did their thing, Kurt Vile did his: effortless but intricate folk held together with grit and simple honesty.

Spectre Folk (Pete Nolan of Magik Markers) brought things to a close with tinny percussion loops, noodling guitar wanderings, and occasional vocal spurts. The crowd had thinned by this point, but Nolan meandered on as chatter floated from the back of the room and Valentine and Elder lounged and listened nearby. He was a spectre to some, but not all. And that seemed perfectly fine with him.

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