Photos: Jamaican Queens & Houses at Mercury Lounge (New York, NY)

Modern Merchant (Brooklyn, NY), Jamaican Queens (Detroit, MI) and Houses (Los Angeles, CA)
September 14th, 2013
Mercury Lounge in New York, NY

New York City just went through a series of sweltering days, leading to an influx of perspiration in the collective mass of citizens. It burst open Thursday evening with a heavy, torrential force that led Friday to be a welcome relief. Mercury Lounge mimicked the week on Friday, with Detroit’s Jamaican Queens leadening the night with their unique trap pop before California’s Houses softened into their soothing, drifting indiescapes.

Wormfood came out earlier this year, leading Jamaican Queens to receive early attention for their dichotomous blend of pop and southern trap. It’s Sleigh Bells soundtracking a Disney film, with all the secrets and allusions intricately hidden within. “Asleep at the Wheel” opened the set; minimal, a little alien, with Ryan Spencer constructing meticulously. “Wellfleet Outro” retained this abstract, wayward pop with female vocals balancing acoustic guitar plucks to a haunting tone. When Jamaican Queens goes trap, it’s enthralling and alluring as “Caitlin” proved under the blue gels of the evening. Only in an enveloping, dark setting like the Mercury Lounge does the songs truly come across giving flashes of where their music will progress. Dark, curiously intriguing yet oddly pop in the most compartmentalized sense (“Caitlin” dropped into electronica towards the end), Jamaican Queens are heading somewhere, and not taking the same path as other recent heavy indie hitters.

Houses wasn’t strikingly as big of a contrast, although physically Dexter Tortoriello towered over Megan Messina. The three-piece was the serenity, the cool breeze after the imposing heat wave of the night. Hypnotic, poignant, their set was calmingly beautiful. While you couldn’t quite hear Megan all so clearly, the sounds rippled and washed over the packed Mercury Lounge, easing into what’s already been a gorgeous weekend in the city. A Quiet Darkness was released earlier this year via Downtown Records.

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