Mal Blum Helped Close Out Summer @ Aviv

On the last day of the Summer’s End Fest at soon-to-be closing Brooklyn DIY venue Aviv, NJ singer-songwriter Mal Blum (they/them) closed out the last day of shows which featured Tall Juan and Guerrilla Toss.

Opening the show was the shimmery tones of Goodman, the project of Brooklyn musician Michael Goodman. Also a member of local psych-rock outfit Spires, Goodman shows a different side to his vintage sensibilities playing more sunny Beatles-esque tracks with layered harmonies and upbeat pop rhythms.

Philly trio Beth Israel commanded the stage with a very doom rock approach with compositional and vocal sensibilities reminiscent of modern rock bands Cloud Nothings and Preoccupations. In nearly complete contrast was gobbinjr aka Emma Witmer armed with only a classic Casio keyboard and Frankie Cosmos style twee pop lyricism.

With another guitarist playing lead, Emily Yacina’s voice drifted dreamily above gentle strums on a stratocaster. The trio lead by Peter Katz, Peaer played a very analytical set, with rhythms and the compositional strengths of emo acts like American Football.

There was another act after Peaer and before Pill not listed on the bill, but their quick set featured slower, Julien Baker-esque tracks.

To call Pill’s live performance “raw” or “emotional” would fall so short of accuracy it would be a disservice. The Brooklyn quartet lets their roots in No Wave with the angst of Sonic Youth or Lydia Lunch show. While their development in the local DIY scene shows their ability to transcend the parameters of “success.” With bare bones social media presence the band has performed alongside their true contemporaries like Downtown Boys or Guerrilla Toss. Beginning their set with purely dissonant tones, a packed audience unsure of what comes next grew to be ensnared by the band’s hypnotic rhythms and powerful lyricism.

A signee of Don Giovanni records, Mal Blum’s live performances translates the more reserved, minimalist tone of their records into all out, brash punk rock. Backed by members of Loone and Little Waist, the singer features prominent members of the Brooklyn transcore scene, giving their songs a more aggressive edge on stage. Tracks like “Better Go” off of their most recent LP “You Look A Lot Like Me” get a boost live, with Mal’s subdued vocals on the chorus turning into a three-part vocal bombast. On stage, Blum’s persona traverses somewhere between self-deprecation and catharsis, referencing their love for trash television on “Reality TV” and romantic frustration with the closer of “Cool Party.” Their next round of shows include DIY venue Sunnyvale, opening for Slothrust at Rough Trade NYC, and culminates in a performance at The New Alternative Music Festival in their home state of New Jersey.


Beth Israel

Emily Yacina


Mal Blum

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