When you need a showman, you call up Shaun Fleming. After cutting his teeth as the drummer of throwback-pop outfit Foxygen for a few years, Fleming went solo as Diane Coffee and stayed true to the flamboyant likes of Bowie, Jagger, and Foxygen frontman Sam France. Fleming's penchant for all things Bowie and Rolling Stones shows in his music - his latest two-song EP Peel (out now through Polyvinyl Records) showcases his nostalgic taste for a bygone musical era - namely, 60s pop. But according to Fleming, his next album will be taking some musical leaps and bounds that will expand the sound that he is known for. With his recent stop at DC9, he gave fans a taste of what’s next for the burgeoning solo project.
Fleming’s explosive presence is a must-see act. Jumping onto the stage and immediately kicking into high gear with "Mayflower," Fleming careened every which way on stage while he had freedom to do so (he played the rest of the set behind a guitar, save for the set closer). His facial expressions conveyed practically every single emotion, from bliss to fear to anger and everything in-between. His expressions are almost caricature-esque and are only rivaled by Este Haim's 'bass face.' The new songs he performed that night gave a clue to where Fleming is headed next musically - if Peel carried the stylings of his previous two albums, new songs like "Internet Arms" seem to rock a lot harder than his previous outputs - think more 70s/80s rock than 60s pop. There are loud power chords, Deep Purple-like keyboard lines, and buzzing arpeggiated synths reminiscent of Arcade Fire's "Creature Comfort." But what remained a constant through the night is that Fleming still carries all the emotion and energy that fans associate so strongly with him. He's a criminally underappreciated musical treasure who isn't afraid to let his freak flag fly, and we need that now more than ever.
Peach Pit opened the night with some laid-back indie rock that was reminiscent of Mac DeMarco's style, but with more punch, some surf rock-like guitar riffs, and a lot of interplay between the band members that helps the band stand out from the pack. Their latest album is Being so Normal, out now through Kingfisher Bluez.