Over the past few days, a metric fuckton of bands played Halloween cover sets. We had a few Clashes, a Nirvana, some Exploding Hearts, and probably a few dozen Misfits. ‘Tis the season, and we love it all.
But down in New York, the New Restaurants decided to up the game and take on Taylor Swift’s greatest hits. And no, not in some look-at-me Ryan Adams kind of way. Instead, the quartet, which features members of Miniboone, Robot Princess, Gunfight, and Pretty & Nice, reinvented themselves for one night at the Footlight in Queens this past Saturday as Taylor Slow, performing the pop star’s hits in a grinding, post-rock style more reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai.
“Apparently even before they started writing the New Restaurant songs, they wanted to do a set of ‘slowcore’ Taylor Swift songs under the name Taylor Slow,” bassist and one-time Bostonian Roger Lussier tells Vanyaland. “This was like, back when Red came out. When we were discussing if we would do a Halloween show this year, Beau [Alessi] and Doug [Schrashun] resurfaced the idea and Rich [DiGregorio] and I were 100 percent on board. We got together and banged out six songs over the span of a month or so. We’re hoping to make this a continuing/evolving project, too — not just a Halloween goof.”
And even on Halloween, there’s a certain seriousness to the New Restaurants’ approach.
“People have asked us about the ‘Ryan Adams thing’ too, but, I dunno… I feel like he was saying ‘Oh Taylor’s a good songwriter but just imagine what it could be in the hands of me, a competent musician'”, Lussier adds. “We all really love these songs, it’s not a joke. We’re just trying to recontexualize them and show how her songs stand up across genres.”
Watch the band play “Blank Space” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” below, and catch the New Restaurants bust out their originals when they play Cobra Club in Brooklyn on November 7.