The deliciously smooth psychedelic R&B stylings of one of Cali’s most stylish beach blonds who goes by the name of Diane Coffee made his crooning way to Brooklyn on Tuesday for a packed sold-out show at Baby’s All Right. The group is widely known as having been a one time side-project of Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming, but given that those indie darlings of the last few years have just completed a “Farewell Tour,” this may very well be his new main project now, and it was time to see how he could really cook on his own.
Opening the show was Long Island’s The Lemon Twigs, who are an expansive and impressive effort I feel very fortunate to have finally witnessed after missing them a couple times. Brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario take turns fronting the songs while switching between guitars and drums throughout their set and making harmonies a clearly center focus for not only the siblings, but also the entire band who also pop in vocally to the soaring tunes. This gives the songs an over-the-top, Queen-like element, especially as they also keep you guessing instrumentally with lots of piano, winding guitar, and tricky time changes for a certain proggy flavor to their rather aptly Fogygen-like catchy psychedelic pop dish. I do feel they are a band to watch out for as their recent cassette release called What We Know is pure gold.
NYC’s own artsy psychedelic pop quartet Whitewash were the meat of the trippy sandwich of the night’s show, and they certainly do fill you up with influences from jazz to funk to noise rock, which often makes for some rather lengthy and expansive jams. Their wide sense of variety is impressive, with everything from love ballads to funky rockers to dine on. The way in which guitarists Sam Thornton and Aram Demirdjian play off the rhythm section of drummer Evan Glazman and bassist Jonathan Ben-Menachem often strike me as smooth early Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd smorgasbord and sometimes as wacky as a Ween desert. Check out their bandcamp as I’m still obsessed by last year’s Fraud in Lisbon but their recent Shibboleth release has already got me hooked.
The character of Diane Coffee that Shaun Fleming has developed is an interesting and dynamic meal, speaking to the play between the masculine vs. feminine archetypes within his own androgynous appearance as he made both the excited young girls and the boys swoon with a smirk and a sunny smile. Fleming has certainly had a full career already, not only spending quite a bit of time as a Disney voice actor on shows like Kim Possible, but also in a number of musical projects including Fogygen. This project certainly did get quite the boost last year fronting a song on the highly-acclaimed Run The Jewels 2 album, and it is growing clear that this gorgeous blonde guy on stage in a fashionable brown onesie on stage may very well be the next Mick Jagger.
There is definitely a lot of the mid-70’s androgynous glam rock scene throughout his music – from a rockin’ T-Rex loudness, to a smooth David Bowie swagger, to a deeply romantic and electronic Roxy Music soundscape, making for a buffet of rock goodness to gouge on in their set. Mostly thought, despite his well-mannered coyness, the main flavor is his crooning ability, clearly making many in the audience weak in the knees and squeal like little school girls. On one of his strongest offerings called “Everyday” he sings -“Oh, stop playing games with my heart, I don’t need you pushing all your letters apart,” a line few could pull off without sounding cheesy, but he pulls it off with the power of a classic R&B master like Al Green, as his whole extensive and talented band made everyone groove off its succulence until we could all not eat another bite.
Article: Dean Keim