(Sorry, folks, wanted to get this up yesterday, but life got in the way.)
Bend got a brief, crisp set Tuesday night at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom by These United States, a band from Washington, D.C. and Lexington, Ky., that has been picking up buzz around the release of its new album “Everything Touches Everything.”
I don’t even know what to write about the quintet’s 45-minute set, honestly. It was solid. It wasn’t amazing, but it was far from bad. These guys are tight, and their grasp on the wide-open world of twangy rock is impressive. These United States’ album is firmly indie-rock in nature — almost poppy — but live, the band finds a ramshackle groove that veers more toward a 1970s country feel.
That’s not to say this is tear-in-my-beer stuff. No, These United States’ music is punchy, propelled by drummer Robby Cosenza’s heavy-handed work on the skins. The band exudes a sort of throwback exuberance when they play; lots of “ooohs” and “aaahs” and the occasionally a joyous “whoa!” jump out from behind the long hair in their faces. On slower songs especially, frontman Jesse Elliott’s voice creaks a lot like Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis. It all has the feel of a jam from another era.
These United States played a few great tunes — “Get Yourself Home” and the seductively catchy “First Sight” among them — and a whole bunch of songs that grabbed me, but really didn’t hang on that tight. Perhaps they’re growers, or perhaps this hard-touring band purposely makes music for the moment, so when they pile in the van and head for the next town, their audience is left wanting more.