We’re still on a bit of a break over here at Hometown Sounds, but I’m stepping in to lend a hand to do one of the things that Hometown Sounds does best, and that’s featuring music videos from DC artists.
Today’s video is not only a feature, it’s also a premiere. And it’s from a band you haven’t heard of, but it’s also a band you might know. Here’s the story. There WAS a band called The Dead Women. And they’ve changed their name. Meet ROM. That’s their new band name. You’ll be hearing that a lot over the coming months, because they’re a band that’s on nothing but the up and up.
It’s for a track called “Nuisance” which is on their forthcoming full length release soda christ, which is available Friday May 30th on Bandcamp, iTunes and Spotify.
The video’s a wild ride: There are secrets. There’s intense physical training. There’s transgender exploration. And above all, the sharp visuals are set against the itchy post-punk that ROM does so well.
Ashton provided the following insights regarding his inspiration for his inspiration for the video’s concept:
I guess I keyed in on the fact that the song is called “Nuisance.” This made me think that maybe the biggest nuisance is the things we keep hidden inside ourselves; the things we do behind closed doors. We all have attributes or interests or desires that aren’t necessarily accepted by society, yet they are still a strong part of who we are. Often we are afraid to reveal these sides of ourselves because they could be perceived as taboo or weird. The nuisance, then, is these hidden sides trying to push to the surface.
Who: These Future Saints w/ Alias Punch and The Dead Women
Where: The Velvet Lounge
When: Friday, September 27
Song You Must Hear Today: “Separation”
These Future Saints are a band that connect with my power pop roots, the clean-cut stuff I gobbled up in high school from acts such as Sloan and Ash. Since then, my tastes have generally moved towards the brasher end of the rock spectrum, but that’s not to say I steer clear of groups like these. Rather, I liken this stuff to lemonade: Something sweet and refreshing that makes for an excellent palette cleanser when you might otherwise be all punked out, though folks might have a higher or lower tolerance depending on the level of sweetness involved.
Earlier this month, we featured These Future Saints’ “Black Jack” via our Fresh Tracks column in the lead up to their very fun EP release show at IOTA. Said EP Ellerslie Ave represents a quality debut release that manages to come off as both breezy and streamlined. “Separation” (which you can stream above) is hands down the most exciting of the Ellerslie’s five songs: A saccharine-loaded ICBM of a guitar line roars over propulsive dance rock drums, which are subsequently swapped out for a verse of singer Andrew Gaddy’s clear-throated vocals and a skippy guitar arpeggio. Likewise, the song’s balmy chord changes and taut rhythms bespeak a band with noteworthy control of their craft.
“Come Around” and “Take Care” both feature a little more of an easy-going, classic rock vibe, with the former sporting a verse that’s melodically similar to Thunderclap Newman’s oft-covered flower-power anthem, “Something in the Air”. “Take Care” on the other hand, with its boom-chop rhythm and winding, picked electric guitars sounds like a more modern, well-mannered take on Mungo Jerry’s timelessly playful “In the Summertime”.
For some bonus TFS content, check out this video DC music enthusiast (and artist!) Kate Moran took of the band at IOTA in March, performing “Blackjack”, which, by singer Andrew Gaddy’s own account is about “making out in the back of a cab”. (GASP!) Also, that’s The WeatherVanes’ Jackson Edwards helping out on bass!
In sum, These Future Saints are a newer band with sunshine in the songwriting, even nimbler arrangements, and a vocalist who knows how to kill ’em. The band performs this Friday at The Velvet Lounge with The Dead Women, whose live show is a sure bet, and Alias Punch, who do a spooky brand of surf punk.
Fresh Tracks! – The Dead Women / Vier by Tony Porreco
Welcome to Fresh Tracks, a new column where we here at Hometown Sounds highlight the latest in noteworthy releases from DC artists.
For the first installment of Fresh Tracks we present Vier, the debut studio release from punk dynamos The Dead Women. German for the number “four”, the EP’s title embodies a clear reference to Vier’s four songs. But the word is pronounced “fear”, so we can only wonder if there’s any relationship between the way you say the album title aloud, and The Dead Women’s dark, nervous punk rock. Vier will be available for streaming exclusively here at Hometown Sounds for its first two days in the world, but will be available for download at the group’s Bandcamp page beginning on August 14th. Enjoy!
Recorded and mixed by Michael Dawson at Elohino Productions.
Cover art and photograph by Nancy McInerney.
Written and performed by The Dead Women.
1. “Trouble Breathing”
2. “Arms and Legs”
4. “I Am Delusional”
About the Album
All of Vier was written during ’11 and ‘12 (the first year following the band’s formation), but previously existed only in the form of rougher demos. Wanting to document some of their earliest material with a strong set of recordings, The Dead Women found themselves driving north to Lincoln Park, New Jersey this past April to work with Michael Dawson at Elohino Productions. (Mark Pry, drummer for The Dead Women, met Dawson during a period when they were both freelance contributors for Modern Drummer Magazine.)
Vier begins with “Trouble Breathing”, a track based on a choppy, syncopated guitar riff and a brooding set implying a narrative of finding oneself pitted against the odds. The verse’s vocal melody and drums fit neatly inside the space carved out by guitar parts, resulting in a bumpy rhythm that achieves the sonic equivalent of rolling over bumpy terrain. It’s the number vocalist/guitarist Mark McInerney says regularly evokes the biggest response when the band plays the DC club circuit.
“Arms and Legs” and “I Am Delusional” both channel the aggressiveness and zip of punk standard bearers such as Bad Religion and Social Distortion, but with the twist of a sound that eschews these bands’ domineering guitar crunch in favor of tones with more fuzzy mid range.
The one real curveball on Vier is “Summer”, a lilting 3/4 ballad whose lyrics pair recollections of relational frustration with the observation of how the heat of the months can feel like an insufferable eternity. This unlikely pairing of experiences function as a poignant reminder of how simultaneously experiencing multiple life stressors can be so much worse than running into them independently of one another.
Despite its brevity, Vier is a release that doesn’t skimp on the details of a good recording, whether it’s the extra texture of the acoustic guitar that springs up in the verse of “I Am Delusional” or McInerney’s layered vocals (either doubled or harmonized), which are spread tastefully over the EP, and lend the tracks a distinct bite.
Concerning what’s next for The Dead Women, the release of Vier is really just the start of a continued flurry of activity for the band. They’ve booked studio time at Beat Babies Recording Studio (Woodstock, MD) for 8/31 and 9/1, where they plan to punch out a live recorded full length. On the subject of differences between the tracks on Vier and the songs the band plans to record next, according to McInerney, you can expect an even heightened emphasis on time signatures (one of the songs is in 5/4!), dynamics, and tempo. “[These] are all important factors in my songwriting now because I know we’re capable of doing it well. Earlier on it was more about writing a catchy tune. And that is what’s reflected in this EP.”