Washer

http://liveatsheastadium.com/
liveatsheastadium.com

Washer’s album Here Comes Washer has one of the strongest opening tracks I’ve ever heard. “Eyelids” grabbed my attention within about three notes when I first heard it, and I knew immediately that I would be listening to this band for a long time.

Despite loving the first song, I was still shocked when every song that followed it turned out to be completely solid and memorable in its own way. It’s almost ridiculous how good this whole album is. The guitar riffs, the drums, the vocals, and the lyrics themselves are all just unbelievably good.

“Eyelids” starts the album with a very simple riff that is repeated over and over. It is haunting and steady as it plays behind the disturbing delivery of the vocals. The sound of the ride cymbal is also very distinct and carries the guitar riff along seamlessly into its brief, fuzz-filled interludes.

It feels kind of arbitrary to talk only about a few of the songs since they are all worthy of discussion, but I definitely want to talk about “Porky” as well. The lyrics are what stand out to me the most in this song and here they are in their entirety:

got away for a long week in fall/and I know it’s you/couldn’t take it, my day-to-day/but I know I know it’s true/if you’d ask me to I would/move far away ‘cause/I hate this place when I’m not with you/it’s contagious/this fear of missing out/well fuck that I’m through/if you’d ask me to I would

There’s a lot to relate to in these lyrics, and the way they are delivered is amazing. Not being able to take the day-to-day and wanting to move far away are both frequently discussed subjects in songs, but this song is about a specific, personal crisis, and the desperation comes across clearly in the words and in the delivery of them.

“Figure Me Out” is similar in that respect. It begins with the lines “can you figure me out?/I’ve been thinking about you/do you scream and shout?/would it split you in two?” This is followed by the single line “I don’t wanna know” and then the lines “feel like I’m getting old/do what you’re told to do/I am bought and sold/and every trick is tried and true.” “I don’t wanna die” is then sung multiple times afterwards. These are very personal lyrics, yet I can relate to them simply because specific parts stand out to me.

There is also a “you” who is often addressed in these songs, and it seems like the speaker and this person are in a complicated relationship in which they are still getting to know one another. These songs do not come across as typical songs about love though because they are about so much more than that. They deal with other emotions that can get mixed in with love as well such as wanting to leave one’s current situation and even the general fear of death.

Washer takes these inner crises that many people have and can relate to and describes them in an interesting way. Sometimes the vocals are screamed, but they are never delivered in a trite manner as is the truth with the vocals that are sung more melodically. To be able to discuss common emotions and predicaments in new, interesting ways is a skill deserving of great praise.

If you don’t already know them, it is very likely that Washer is that new band you’ve been looking for.

-Sean


https://uploads0.wikiart.org/images/francisco-goya/
wikiart.org/images/francisco-goya/

steady business in a time of corporatized nostalgia
be sure the thoughts that close your throat
were never theirs but are your own

In a world where the Oxford-Dictionary has just named “post-truth” as the international word of the year and an orange-Cheeto-dust-frosted-reality-TV-star-billionaire has become President-Elect in the most powerful country on Earth; Washer us asks how to carve out a sliver of meaning in a world full of endless contradictions and seeming hopelessness.

In the Internet-age a person’s attention span is the most important commodity. Appeals to primal instincts and base emotions drive the economy. Facts and creativity do not. Imagination is no longer something inherent; it is something that must be bought.

it’s a tight rope to walk
to validate yourself and
not fall prey to someone’s
monetary demands

goes the final verse of “Pet Rock vs. Healing Crystal” reminding us of the near impossibility of the artist to maintain their personal integrity without becoming a commodity. However this sort of introspection also befalls the common man who must also sell a part of his soul into bondage with various corporations; whether it be for a job, shelter or food in order to participate in the so-called “American Dream.”

“Mend” and “Figure Me Out” were the two songs that struck me upon my initial listen. Anxiety fueled self-delusion and the incessant questioning of one’s own mortality is a sobering thought. Whatever the state of your mental health, Here Comes Washer is one of 2016’s best albums, and I know, I certainly don’t wanna die; not at least until the next Washer album comes out.

-Dr. D

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Hovvdy

hovvdy

I checked out Hovvdy on a whim when I saw they were connected to Pope (who I’ve now mentioned in multiple posts).

Their first full-length album Taster was the first thing of theirs I came across, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Checking out bands that are somehow connected to another band you already like can be a good way to find great new stuff.

Hovvdy has an approach that is vaguely similar to Pope in their vocals as well as their overall feel. Instead of having fuzzed-out guitars and a generally loud sound though like Pope often does, Hovvdy tends more toward the quiet side.

“Better” starts off the album very slowly and quietly. It is almost like the opening sentence of an essay in that it draws you in, but you’re still not exactly sure what to expect. It does, however, set the tone for the album with its almost whispering vocals and distinct yet very laid-back drums.

The following track “Problem” is where everything kicks off. The rhythm picks up a bit and a very catchy riff ensues. This song has been in my head for a long time, and I’m just fine with that.

“Try Hard” is another song worthy of mention because at that point in the album the mood shifts to having more of an electronic feel to it because of the synthesizers that are used. I think it was this song that made me realize how versatile Hovvdy is because “Problem” sounds similar to a Pope song, but “Try Hard” almost makes it feel like we’ve changed genres (in a good way). This is a perfect song to listen to while driving or walking somewhere. It is reflective and calming while also moving steadily forward.

I also want to mention “Pretend” because it carries on with the electronic feel. I was not really expecting this kind of approach, but it was definitely great to find it. I’m not sure why I wasn’t expecting it either, but Hovvdy does a great job of doing whatever they want and making it flow together coherently. The switch from “Can’t Wait” to “Pretend” is pretty significant stylistically. “Can’t Wait” has guitars playing distorted riffs and the drums providing a solid blues beat giving it a strong overall rock style, but once “Pretend” begins it’s like we’re suddenly listening to Youth Lagoon and that’s okay by me.

Much like the individual tracks I’ve mentioned, this whole album is reflective and dwells upon the past sometimes while sitting calmly and sometimes while walking or driving into the unknown.

Discovering bands like Hovvdy is why the search for good music is always worth it and also why I feel the need to share what I’ve found. It’s just too good to not say anything.

https://hovvdy.bandcamp.com/

Frankie Cosmos

http://bayonet-records.myshopify.com/
http://bayonet-records.myshopify.com/

For me, discovering Frankie Cosmos a few weeks ago was like noticing there’s a trap door in the house you’ve been living in for years and then finding lots of things underneath it that you happen to need at that exact moment.

I’d seen the name included in the lineups for shows with other bands I’ve been following but had not checked them out. I started with their KEXP performance and then their most recent album Next Thing.

It took me about three seconds to like them. Sometimes I just instantly connect with a band, and this is certainly one of them. They quickly reminded me of Beat Happening with the general wistful mood of their music. The fact that this project was started by Greta Kline (under the name Ingrid Superstar) with lo-fi recordings also adds to the similarities between these two bands.

If you go to the bandcamp page for Frankie Cosmos, you’ll find an astonishing amount of music. I’ve only gotten to listen to a small portion of it so far, but it truly does feel like finding some kind of hidden, sonic treasure.

One particular album called Much Ado about Fucking contains both elaborate songs and some that are only around a minute long. Regardless of their duration, they are all heartfelt and have stuck with me over the last few weeks.

These songs are not only really fucking good but also inspiring. They show that a studio is not necessary to make meaningful music. A project does not need to be made in a specific way to be considered art. “Reading Hell Chipmunk” from Much Ado about Fucking blew my mind, and I’m glad she recorded it the way she did and got it out there for people to hear because it’s fantastic.

Even though this project began with just Kline, it is now a full band and has shifted to recording in a studio. Next Thing has some really great tracks and combines that Beat Happening feel with possibly a Belle and Sebastian approach. The songs are just as original as before, but now you can hear things better and there are more instruments.

“Floated In” opens the album with a calm riff and equally calm vocals. The song then picks up in tempo with catchy lyrics and a keyboard. “Fool” also has some incredible vocals that are sung with such relatable disappointment and fragility that it can be simultaneously heartbreaking and pleasurable to listen to it. “Sappho” also has intriguing vocals along with a driving bass line.

The years that Greta Kline spent making music alone really show through in Next Thing. She’s developed a specific feel to her work that is reminiscent of other bands but is also shaped in a way that is entirely hers. I’m really looking forward to listening to as much of her music as I can.

http://ingridsuperstar.bandcamp.com/album/next-thing

http://ingridsuperstar.bandcamp.com/album/much-ado-about-fucking