Tony Molina, Please & Thank Yous, Empty Isle | Beat Kitchen | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Tony Molina, Please & Thank Yous, Empty Isle 

When: Fri., May 16, 6:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $12, $10 in advance
Bay Area singer-songwriter Tony Molina has played in a bunch of hardcore bands over the years, and in January 2013 the newest one, Caged Animal, released its debut seven-inch through punk microlabel Warthogs Speak. “There’s not one ounce of originality in these grooves,” the label says, “but if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.” A month later Molina demonstrated his command of another well-trod patch of musical turf with the solo power-pop record Dissed and Dismissed (reissued earlier this year by Slumberland). During its 12-minute running time, Molina manages to evoke an intense but fleeting romantic yearning; gritty lo-fi ditties such as “Nothing I Can Do” and “Walk Away” hint at his background in hardcore, and his life-affirming guitar solos elevate his tunes with radio-rock dazzle. Dissed and Dismissed reminds me of lots of great, catchy bands that have come before—I hate to mention Guided by Voices, since they’re such an easy reference point, but Molina does it himself, delivering a cover of GBV’s “Wondering Boy Poet” with a warmth that’s all his own.

Emo-leaning local pop-punk band the Please & Thank Yous won me over when I first heard their charming, feisty 2010 album Mind Yr P’s & Q’s, but for most of the past two years they’ve barely played out—probably because, like so many other groups in the underground scene, their members juggle several projects. (Drummer Marcus Nuccio plays in fourth-wave emo groups Pet Symmetry and Mountains for Clouds, among others.) But the Please & Thank Yous seem energized by a couple recent lineup changes, as well as by the release of a self-titled EP last month—I’ve seen them listed on two shows in two months. The new EP knocked me out right from the first track: the enthralling “Naan Sequitur” is a bass-heavy full-band version of a slow solo acoustic number that appears on 2012’s At Your Merci. The band’s old lineup had a lively, sprightly energy but a relatively light touch—I dig the heft and muscle of the performances on the new record. It makes “If There’s Dancing at This Party, I’m Leaving” and “It’s What You Think” undeniably cathartic. —Leor Galil



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