Daeves serenades off recent album “Whatever Before the Storm” — rich vocals over dream-state ambience, subtly channeling Mac DeMarco. A relaxed, melodic attitude toward what the existential storm may entail.
“Beautiful Worcester” is called out — a central Massachusetts city that many Bostonians consider its closer-to-concrete, grittier second cousin. Lead singer Devon Murphy streams on a night that feels like a deconstruction: “I met a coke dealer / nearly saw a fight / thought of being a martyr / it was in my sight.” The outer world reflects an inner transience here, a self-annihilating struggle projected onto the outer landscape: “If you’re starving, you can feed on me if you’d like.”
“Worcester doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t,” says Murphy, which tells me that he doesn’t, either. This musing sheds light on the city’s nocturnal cracks and builds its psychic structure in the spaces in reality that are human and raw, in perceptions containing both fragments of truth and narrative fiction.
The delivery of this song, unfurling in the nook-ish Grendel’s Den of Harvard Square, gives us a due sense of crooked coziness, with Murphy and friends playing slouch-perched on a toilet seat. The lighting and the testosterone remind us of an impromptu sixth-period skip in the suburban late ’90s, but this sort-of nostalgia is warm.
“Tiny Bathroom Concert” is a community series corralled by Alec Hutson, a local alternative musician on the Boston scene. With an homage to NPR’s “Tiny Desk” concerts, this porcelain pedestal gives way to its truer mission, which is to integrate and celebrate the Boston music community, in which Hutson has been robustly active for five years. “Tiny Bathroom” sheds light on overlooked emerging local artists, broadening the horizons of the community through installing clear connection and footage. Hutson platformed the first “Tiny Bathroom” in his own Somerville loo, and it po(o)ps up in whichever public bar bathroom needs a better soundtrack.
Daeves, from its inception, is an experimental solo project of Murphy’s, taking shape through its occasional singles and EPs. In 2015, Murphy began recording more consistently, recruiting friends Chris Loppicolo and Matt Ohanian to accompany him on tracks and in live performance. Murphy says, “There may be a release containing more of our collaborative stuff at some point soon.” We look forward to hearing of what these other trips through the post-apocalypse sound like.
Until then, we’ll hang here and, as he sings, “pray for clear thinking.”
Feature Photo: Elsbeth Hearn