Sporting aviator sunglasses and a handsomely disheveled three-piece suit, Sam Bisbee looks like Elvis Costello disguised as the annoying jock kid that beat me up in middle school. His angelic voice and lush melodies, however, are less The Attractions and more Belle & Sebastian. One listen at The Living Room on the Lower East Side on Feb. 12 will have you falling all over your new Doc Martens.
Sam Bisbee’s music is deceptively simple, but grand in scope. With the steady rhythms and gentle chorused guitar melodies of gothic post-punk, he nonetheless maintains a charismatic energy that’s anything but gloomy. Over the course of three albums, he’s unfolded an impressive emotional repertoire, running the gamut from quietly strummed love songs to powerful pop anthems.
Son Of A Math Teacher, Bisbee’s upcoming album, comes with a glossier sheen than his previous work, thanks to slicked-up production and some unexpected guest performers, including Lucy Wainwright-Roche, brother of Rufus Wainwright and daughter of legendary troubador Loudon Wainwright. Bisbee has not one, but two schoolteachers in his family, and it’s evident in the songs’ school-age optimism. Like the album’s charmingly simple crayon-drawn artwork, the music here is just as wide-eyed and innocently curious as ever.
The Living Room can be found at 154 Ludlow St., between Stanton and Rivington. Music begins at 9 p.m., and the show is for those 21 and over. A $5 donation is strongly recommended, with a one-drink minimum per set. For more information, visit sambisbee.com or myspace.com/sambisbee.