2011 is going to be big for The Forms. Over the course of the past 8 years, the band has been the opposite of prolific. They have released two great records (Icarus and The Forms), gone through a bunch of member changes (from a three-piece to a four-piece and now down to the core duo of Alex Tween and Matt Walsh), and played shows sparsely. Saturday night at The Rock Shop, the band celebrated the release of their newest EP Derealization, a re-working of songs from their past with star-studded liner notes and an updated flare. This year, people need to take notice of this band.
Along with The Forms, Monogold preformed and BRAHMS provided a DJ set of amazing ’90s hits. (It had been a minute since I heard Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “None of Your Business.”) This lineup – along with the appearances on Derealization by members of Dirty Projectors, St. Vincent, etc. – solidified the fact that these dudes have some seriously rad friends.
In their style of not doing anything typical, The Forms started their set from the back of the bar. Coming up into the middle of the crowd, the played a rendition of “Knowledge in Hand” on accordion and steel drum. They would later end their set with a synthed-out, rocking rendition of the song (re-named “Same Path Mantra” on Derealization).
For a two-member band, The Forms show such an amazing range. Whether unplugged in the middle of the crowd or rocking out at their hardest with strobes flashing. With the new material (a few songs that were interspersed with the old and re-worked stuff), the band has pretty much done away with any sort of recognizable instrumentation. All the drums are synthetic and most of the sounds are sampled or completely drenched in effects.
The math and nerd-rockery are still there, though, as with their older material. Bobbing your head, you suddenly catch on to the fact that there is an extra beat here and there, and you don’t know where it came from or what to do with it. As the band was switching instruments, an audience member shouted out “Stravinsky” – a name of the track from the band’s first record. “Nerd,” Tweed said from the stage. “He recognizes the song just from the key. I’m a nerd, too, though, so that’s OK.”