With a name like Leftover Cuties, and a deliciously vampy frontwoman with a ukelele, this Venice Beach quartet could have teetered on that edge where they’re simply going to fall over a line into just too twee, too precious; they’re saved by a helping of rakish, slightly dirty charm, and primarily by the fact that they make very, very excellent Dixieland surf swing, a genre I just made up and which may only have a single band as a member: Leftover Cuties.
They’re saved by being a damn good band, basically, which is all any band should aspire to. Last night, for a pathetically small crowd at the 506 (even for August, yo), they play a sharp, tight hour long set that showed off their chops in both songwriting and in musicality. With a number of songs that rely on the trumpet playing of also-accordianist Mike Bolger, Dixieland — a tiny streetcorner band in New Orleans — is the first sound that comes to mind, but the band ventures into darker corners and more interesting places (to go) just as readily.
Which is to say, I was deeply smitten by Leftover Cuties last night, from their first song; with a four-across lineup — nobody deep than about halfway back on the stage — their vocal harmonies and the blend of ukelele, keys, and upright bass is nearly perfect, and the songwriting is clever, funny, and honest. Catch ’em if you can, they still have a couple of weeks of tour dates left.
The Genuine, a very sincere and charming bunch of kids from Winston-Salem who are getting ready to release a new record, opened — they’re doing some very interesting things with piano-based indie pop threaded through with strong (really strong) guitar playing, and I’m pretty psyched to keep an eye on them. They also slayed a rootsy acoustic cover of the National’s “Bloodbuzz Ohio”, and it takes both guts and talent to cover the National, and cover them well, which they did. I think these guys are the real deal, y’all. Keep an eye out, I’ll be making them the Jam of the Day in a couple of weeks.
Full set is here.