The air in Snug’s on Feb. 24 was ripe with new beginnings and anticipated returns. Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Carlin joined rock band Resolver in their official live debut with indie rockers Schmave for their first live performance since 2020.
The show, booked over six months in advance, came to fruition around the two bands’ mutual drummer, Brandon Bera. After searching for a local acoustic opener and finding Carlin — last name Feck — the two acts reunited on the Friday night bill and rocked the stage from 10 p.m. until the early hours of the next day.
This opening performance was the second gig of the night for Feck; earlier, she sang in the Student Union Building for New Paltz Music Collective’s “Coffee House” show.
“This happens to me a lot,” she said about getting double-booked. “I love it, because by the time I’m going to the second gig, I’m dialed in. It’s gonna be a big day of firsts; I feel like a little rock star.”
Feck was set on only covering songs from female artists, as she played a hearty selection of pop hits from stars such as Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and Ariana Grande’s “Positions.” She ended the night with an acoustic spin on “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” — still energetic and fun, inspiring a mosh on the bar’s dancefloor.
“I want the energy of a confident performer,” she said. “I want the energy as if I did have a band behind me. There’s nothing soft and quiet about my music. I’m not that brand of acoustic.”
Resolver started as a personal recording project for songwriter Brendon Cavanagh. Despite not attending college at SUNY New Paltz, he’s been involved in the town’s music scene for the past decade and has been releasing music under the name since 2018. After showing his songs to Bera, they connected with guitarist Andrew Blot and bassist JP Schumacher, and began to adapt his songs for a full band set.
“We’ve been rehearsing since late summer, so we’ve had a lot of time to prepare,” Cavanagh said. “We usually meet about once or twice a week in New Paltz, and we’ve been having a lot of fun. It was a little daunting for me to teach these guys the songs that I recorded by myself, but it all came together really nicely.”
Cavanagh takes inspiration from acts like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead, channeling their “emotionally intense and melancholic” musical styles. Aside from covering hard-hitting 90s and 00s rock classics such as “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer and “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” from Radiohead themselves, the band debuted a number of original songs that they’ve been working on.
Their final song of the set — titled “Dancing Ghost” — combines elements of keyboard electronica and acoustic string work for a slightly dark tune about partying, drinking and coping mechanisms. Throughout the night, Resolver showcased the wide range of moods curated through their music, supported by Cavanagh’s impressive vocal range and the chemistry the members have built up over the past months of practice.
In the height of the pandemic, Avery John Wood Maracek — Schmave’s primary songwriter — took a hiatus from the pressures of constant practicing and focused on writing in solitude. While working a job as a house painter, he listened to Radiohead and indie rock band Dirty Projectors, giving him new inspirations for different musical routes that he could take.
“I love a lot of the textural parts about Radiohead, and then the Dirty Projectors’ stripped down vibe — so it’s headed that way a little bit more,” he said about the band’s sound.
Maracek graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2012, but stayed in the town’s music scene for a majority of his 20s. In the band, he plays alongside Blot on synthesizers and trumpet, Bera on drums, Joey Wright on bass and Matt Dowden on guitar. Before COVID-19 shut performances down, Schmave appeared on bills for several Snug’s performances and New Paltz house show venues — including the since-defunct Crossroads.
The band performed singles from their 2019 album “We’re Rowboat People” to celebrate their return to live performances. One song was “Chester Cab,” an upbeat track that acts as a bite-sized showcase for all of the band’s quirks and talents — including keyboard and trumpet solos, warm guitar melodies that call to modern-day indie acts such as Hippo Campus and The Backseat Lovers and clever lyrics riddled with metaphors and wordplay.
“There was quite a while when I wasn’t sure if or when I’d play again,” Maracek said. “It’s definitely weird that it’s going to happen, but I’m more excited than nervous.”
All three acts stepped down from the Snug’s stage with big plans in the works. Feck’s first single, “Still Their Kid,” was released onto streaming services on Feb. 27 under her stage name, Carlin. Resolver wishes to remaster previous songs, now with a full backing band in the studio. Schmave plans to release singles later in the year, and is continuing their return to live music on March 3 at Radioshack.