Unassuming. That’s the first word that comes to mind when Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel take the stage. One picks up a guitar, the other assumes the position behind their drum kit, and the duo exchange a knowing look before they launch into their performance. With that simple gesture they disarm their audience, create the expectation of a set that is folksy, capable and earnest.
And while it’s fair to say that a Kaiser Cartel show delivers on that expectation, what’s even better is how they exceed it. Never content to deliver run-of-the-mill indie rock, this duo keeps things interesting by incorporating xylophones, triangles and even whistling into their soundscape. This results in music that is surprisingly whimsical, a quality readily apparent on their first full-length album, “March Forth.”
Based on the strength of this debut, as well as some sample tracks off the forthcoming “Secret Transit,” it’s safe to say that Kaiser Cartel is one to watch. Catch them now while they’re still playing intimate venues, if only to experience them strolling through the crowd, looking directly into the eyes of each audience member for their last number. (Jenny Seay)
At Schubas, 3159 North Southport, (773)525-2508, April 14, 9pm. $8.