Outside the Bishop Bar on Sunday evening, a light rain fell from an overcast sky. Cars rolled through mist coming off of the pavement, and a chilly breeze carried a humid breath with it.
Fair conditions for a night of ambient bedroom pop.
SALES and Hana Vu performed at the Bishop on Sunday evening.
The 18-year-old Vu opened the show with the slow, lo-fi guitar riff from her song “Cool” before steamrolling into the more driven, post-punk “Shallow." The song carried a sense of urgency in it's lyrics and hard snare hits.
“Don't forget me, don't forget my name/Every day are days and days the same,” Vu sang.
Her vocals were filled with an open, hazy maturity, and her lyrics were filled with longing and estrangement.
Reverb and echoes defined the sweeping guitar riffs and relaxed vocals and created a sense of distant between Vu and the person her lyrics seem intended to reach. Her music gave the impression of being written while gazing out of a rain pattered window, or on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
Other tracks, such as “Crying on the Subway,” offer a bass-bumping, pace setting stride, giving the impression of a directionless strut through a rainy city street.
“In my dreams I'm in that grey room, in my chest I'm feeling dark blue/Take the redline into downtown/I'm trying to escape you,” Vu sang.
Post-doctoral researcher Sara Lipschutz had never heard of Vu before attending the Bishop. She just moved to Bloomington and wanted to see what the music scene was like. She said she liked Vu’s hard pop sound.
“It’s a ballad wrapped up in a romper,” she said.
Following Vu was SALES. The Florida based group opened with a mellow-guitar jam and wistful lyrics in “Big Sis." Guitarist and vocalist Lauren Morgan occasionally sang in staccatoed sighs, breaths and whispers.
SALES released its new album, “Forever & Ever,” on July 19. The band played a few songs from the album with shimmering guitar riffs and heaven-reaching vocals, such as “White Jeans” and “Off and On.”
“You come on to me/At a cool party/This is not a test/This is not a dream,” Morgan sang in “White Jeans.”
The band’s sound idled and danced in a lo-fi teenage dreamscape. The floating guitar riffs resembled a held breath, filled with unspoken love in some moments, and happiness in others.
“It’s good background music,” sophomore studying Special Education Elena Gorney said. “They’re very chill.”
At one point, Morgan took out her phone and set the flashlight to a strobe mode.
“Let’s make it a little moodier,” she said. “A little strobey, a little twinkley.”
For the following song “Ivy,” the stage lights went down and flashing phone lights illuminated the room.
For some songs, guitarist Jordan Shih repeatedly played a catchy, looping guitar riff, solidifying a tone while the vocals and drum track changed around it. Shih’s simple, fluttering guitar work sounded as if it was rolling out from behind a wall of clouds.
Towards the end of the set, Shih reflected on one of their more well-known songs, "renee."
"This is the first song Lauren and I ever wrote together as SALES," he said. "It's dedicated to y'all."
Outside the Bishop, the mist settled under dark clouds. Red and green streetlights reflected off the pavement. Inside, a little slice of shoegazing tunes took the form of smooth guitar and vocals.
“All day long we looked to fall/Looking into the sun/And found a way to get along,” Morgan sang in "renee."
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