I don’t know what shape my listening will take until after it’s happened, but three themes emerge from this week:
- bands heavily influenced by the earliest explorations into what would eventually become goth, post-punk, and new wave
- artists recommended by Jes Skolnik on Twitter (twitter.com/modernistwitch)
- artists that I was pretty into 5 or 6 years ago but haven’t kept up with
- Hands on Heads – I think it’s the insistent organ that recalls “White Music” era XTC so strongly, but with the herky-jerky, spastic, shouty aspects maxed, and some afropop textures thrown in to boot.
- Miskatonic – 2 bands with this name, one much too bright to have a Cthulhu Mythos derived name – poppy indie rock that veers in 3 distinct directions: pure power pop, lil bit punky, new-wave sheen. Recommended for fans of early Blondie, the Epoxies, Velocity Girl, etc. The other Miskatonic is Canadian death metal with a bit of thrash/core in the mix.
- Sierpien – I hear Bauhaus in this for sure, but it’s also harsh in way that seems metal-fan friendly (or at least friendly to fans of the more avant/experimental side of BM, maybe).
- Crimpers – at the intersection of hardcore/noiserock/postpunk. (There’s some fuzz bass right out of the David J playbook, but Bauhaus at their most anarchic were nothing like this.)
- Kawehi – Kawhei (aka “I am Kawehi”) caught my ear with a fragile, slow-building cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” with unusual percussion textures. She applies the same sort of thoughtful arrangements to her own layered electro-acoustic pop. The one-two punch of “Youtube/Troll” makes me want to stand up and cheer.
- Cait Brennan – “Debutante”’s opening salvo “Good Morning and Goodnight” manages to evoke Mott the Hoople, Queen, and Bowie in roughly equal measure (with a dash of “Walk Under Ladders”-era Armatrading). Second track “Underworld” is a Big Star homage as good as anything from Teenage Fanclub. These are pretty good signposts for the whole endeavor – lovingly crafted in the styles of classic glam and powerpop. There’s something defiantly uncool about this that really appeals to me.
- Chroma – Maybe somewhere between punk and postpunk? Reminds me of Warsaw and Daylight Robbery.
- Desenterrades – if you imagine a line with the punky/glossy sci-fi new wave of the Expoxies at one end, and the scritchy jitter of Daylight Robbery in the middle, you might find Desenterrades at the other end — darker, harsher, closer to hardcore, but all three have a pre-apocalyptic vibe that seems sympatico.
- Hello Saferide – Winsome, smart, self-aware indie pop. Reminds me a bit of Mountain Goats and the Lucksmiths.
- Washer – Seems like a pretty safe bet that Washer’s namesake is the 9-minute centerpiece of Slint’s genre-defining “Spiderland” — gutsy, to say the least. Washer takes probably the best approach to having invited this sort of comparison: they make you dig to find the Slint influences in not-very-Slint-y songs (the longest 3 tunes on “Here Comes Washer” barely total 9 minutes, for instance). So yes, some meter play, and a few elegantly melodic basslines, but overall sounds about as much like “Bleach” as “Spiderland,” and fits very comfortably in the EIS roster without sounding too much like any one of the other bands( Krill, Pile, etc.) .
Bonus that I wrote up when I thought it would make the top 10, which it narrowly didn’t
- Wingtips – don’t think it’s going out on a limb to assume that Wingtips main man Vinny Segretario loves him some early Depeche Mode and mid period Cure. But he dishes up the retro with plenty of panache. Recommended for fans of Plushgun or the synthy-er side of Say Hi (to Your Mom) (and vice versa).