Winston Yellen was probably right when he said any one of the three performers from last Sunday night at the Doug Fir could have played headliner. The choir-voiced frontman for Night Beds seemed honored to play, remarking that a previous show in Kansas attracted a total of seven people. Surprising, given the Nashville band's recent comparison to some dude named Bon Iver.

Up first, though: Cat Martino, a one-woman wrecking crew of vocal loops and soulful, barebones musical constructionism, highlighted by a wonderfully minimalistic, near a cappella take on the Cure’s “Love Song.” Next, Indians—the moniker for Danish musician Søren Løkke Juul played beside two angelic background vocalists, who alternated between singing and dialing up dreamy ambient noise. Indians’ power lies in both the authentic nature of the piano and the more synthetic, albeit artful, accompanying effects. 

Finally, Nights Beds, a band built on a pastoral sound that's fragile on the verge of breaking. Yellen's vocals are almost hymnal, like ultra-melodic secrets told to a dear friend. In the end, three bands on the verge of bigger things all produced abundant musical imagery...

(Click image to enlarge.)

 Illustration by Mark Stock.