Medications @ Cake Shop, New York, NY 3/12/09

Medications have the cure for what ails you.

Videos by American Songwriter

Medications: Chad Molter-drums; Mark Cisneros-bass; Devin Ocampo-guitar/vocals.

D.C. indie label, Dischord Records’ Medications (né Faraquet) are on a March club tour of the states, including a stint at SXSW with label-mate Edie Sedgwick, an explosive mustachioed androgyne, who’s without question potential cult leader material (in a good way).

Edie Sedgwick
Edie Sedgwick

Tonight Medications headlined the Lower East Side’s Cake Shop. Primary and founding members Devin Ocampo and Chad Molter dropped their first full-length, Your Favorite People All in One Place, in 2005. Pitchfork gave it a 7.6, which due to Pitchfork’s persnickety tendencies is akin to a 4.5 star rating anywhere else. This evening they treated the crowd to an anthology-like set of their collaborations, from their well received self-titled EP, Faraquet songs, Your Favorite People stuff, and material new to my ears which must be from a forthcoming album.

Their MySpace page places them in the Progressive /Spanish pop/Rock genre(s). The fact of the matter is, despite being a Dischord band, which generally implies a post-hardcore indie sound, these multi-instrumentalist axe swappers with Math Rock leanings are all of the above, yet truly unclassifiable. Free of contrivances (see Pearl Jam), the formulaic (see Miley Cyrus, Clay Aiken, et al.), nor describable as “experimental,” a term that’s been tossed around in these Ought years like free condoms and pink slips, this evening everything sounded organic — all natural DIY intricate pop.

Each Gordian Knot riff played by Ocampo, given the complimentary bass/keyboards of Mark Cisneros or Molter’s bass, and the paraphrasing response of Molter’s kit work, let you slip the intractable conundrums their songs at first seem to be. If Rush is as they are often described, “the thinking man’s band,” Medications could introduce Rush and their millions of fans to meta-thought (and shorter, more concise grooves as well). That’s not to say the evocative or emotional components of tonight’s set were recessed: people sat still listening to lyrics of slower numbers, some mouthing the words at times; otherwise people were rocking out to the shifty time signatures and jagged, eviscerating yet anodyne meters. Ocampo’s and Molter’s vocals, either solo or harmonized, held up to near recording quality, and the newer material, presumably still being fleshed out, signaled a subtle shift in style towards more accessible over the counter Medications.

But be warned: the new stuff will still alter your psycho-pharmacological state.

Devin Ocampo and "patient"

Words and photos by Nikolai Schulman

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