In short, Essentials allows artists to put down their instruments and divulge about a specific topic, giving fans and the like the opportunity to connect with their interests and inspirations. It’s just unlike any other digital list feature, we’re totally okay with things getting weird, candid and uncensored. With the Chicagoans out on the road until early December, we reached out to DISAPPEARS’ Brian Case and asked him to share his thoughts on five alternative bands/songs that have been making noise in 2013. To be honest, the music world needs more commentary like this.
Disappears’ new post punk opus Era is out now and can be grabbed on CD/LP via Kranky Records
Weekend – “It’s Alright”
I love Weekend; we’re actually getting ready to head out on a pretty long tour with them in a few weeks. I was really into their first record Sports and even interviewed them for this ‘zine I was doing at the time called MILD VILNC. I remember having a good conversation with them about misconceptions in the press between what your influences are and how you sound. It’s something that bands are constantly dealing with – being into someone like Jesus and Mary Chain and having everyone say you sound like them because you have reverb on the drums or whatever.
I was pretty surprised when I first heard Jinx – it’s not what I was expecting and is all the better for it. I think those guys had really succeeded with the blown out haze of Sports and doing it again would have been redundant and probably pretty limiting for them. Jinx is great and it shows the band stretching out and really taking the heart of what influences them vs. the easily skimmed surface sounds.
Obits – “Spun Out”
Fuck yes, Obits are such a great band. We’ve toured together several times and it is always really special for us. I’m excited for Bed And Bugs, mostly due to this song. They are the kings of simmering – they never explode so much as they ride this wave of tension and really subtle dynamics. It’s so intense live. They take these pretty rad ideas but somehow manipulate them into these strange shapes. I think it has a lot to do with the way Rick and Sohrab play together – both were raised in really fertile punk scenes that were coming of age in the hardcore DIY thing. They were so close to the original punk thing that they were actual players in how it evolved, and that’s pretty amazing. Plus, I loved Drive Like Jehu, Edsel, and Girls Against Boys so having those guys in my phone is really cool for me!
No Joy – “Lunar Phobia”
I liked the first No Joy album but the album this song is from, Wait to Pleasure, is light years ahead of it’s predecessor. I think making a record is a lot like trying to create this world for someone to step into – like be apart of something else and get absorbed by it. This record really succeeds at that – the production has a lot of space but is really dense in areas, things are coming in and out of focus, and it’s hazy but so meticulous that it transcends a lot of the laziness associated with shoegaze. I actually wouldn’t even really lump it into that – it’s its own thing.
Cheatahs – “The Swan”
I’ve never heard this before, I’m assuming it’s current. It has a really strong ’90s vibe – verses have a Bob Mould thing, more like Sugar than Husker Du, but the chorus I can’t quite place… more English maybe? The video is pretty 120 minutes as well. I hate reducing music down to signifiers like that but I think it’s how you first start to process and understand new music before you can see it more as it is. I think it’s pretty good, it could maybe do without the part at the end. I feel like they accomplish everything they want to before that and just kind of tack the end on there to have an end or something. It’s really melodic in a ’90s big guitar band way. Not really my thing but it’s not terrible.
Pity Sex – “Wind Up”
Unfortunate name. Sounds kind of like Cheatahs or at least has a similar ’90s alternative thing going on. It’s funny how quick the musical cycles are turning around. Every new generation is reacting so hard against the one before that they end up just doing what the one before was reacting against – does that make sense? My kids are probably going to be in a rap rock band or something. I hate to be negative but I was never really into stuff like this. I just don’t hear a lot of soul in there – all over-processed, 12 guitar tracks playing the same thing. After hearing the music the name is so weird! Like should we have pity sex with them because they’re so bad? I’d rather listen to Sponge.