Skating Polly at DC9
I blame the Internet for this. Zero members of Skating Polly were even alive in '94 but they nailed that era's sound. Angsty but not mopey, they come across less like a "grunge" band and more like one of those loud but profound rock bands which finally got their turn in the spotlight as formerly "alternative" music got pulled into the mainstream. They would have been one of the better ones too, even back then. Also, they've released more music videos than every band in 1994 combined which is definitely the Internet's fault.
Apparently the band's singers have been performing together for eight years which is insane. This band is really young. They recently let their brother join the band so that they could study for their SATs together or something. I guess every now and then some sort of magic happens and a group of really young people form a really good band. Being related seems to help.
Honduras at DC9
The band Honduras seem to be influenced by 70's rock music. They definitely have a punk quality and some hints of New Wave influence. They also have a tendency to make songs which are kind of epic with long intros and big buildups going into the chorus, kind of like mainstream rock from the late 70s.
This of course makes sense for a band which formed in Brooklyn this decade. They remind me of Beach Fossils but a bit more punk. Those bands clearly have some of the same influences, let's put it that way.
Death By Unga Bunga at DC9
I still just barely believe that there is really a band called Death By Unga Bunga. Knowing that there is, though, I am totally willing to believe that they're a garage rock band. Also that they're not from around here (they're Norwegian).
Listening to them online before the show they reminded me of The Manikins or Together PANGEA, just without the occasional folksy bits. That's not way off. Like TP they keep the subject matter light as any good party music should. What I hadn't picked up on online are the hints of glam rock influence. Certain songs reminded me of MC5 and Stalkers. So DBUB turned out to be a little edgier than I was expecting but not that much.
The Lemon Twigs at DC9
The Lemon Twigs. You might remember them from such shows as Sunflower Bean at the Rock and Roll Hotel recently. They didn't cover "Gasolina" this time.
I don't think I've ever seen a (current) band which quite so throughly embodied the 70s aesthetic. Songs which are melodic but don't stick to simple rhythmic structures. Energy but not insanity in their live performance. And those clothes! I really don't think they're just copying the look either. Their sound and really their whole character predates those simplified musical styles like corporate pop and (as much as I love it) punk rock. Musicianship is the key here. They'll toss in whatever flourishes are needed to give a song the desired impact. And may I add that this is particularly impressive given their relative youth. Notice those Xs on their hands. They may not be punk but for now they are straight edge.
Canker Blossom at DC9
Who doesn't enjoy an old-fashioned snotty Punk band? Yeah okay, probably lots of people but they don't go to shows anywhere smaller than the 9:30 Club. Canker Blossom are a Baltimore punk trio (sometimes duo) whose songs are mosly under two minutes long and have titles like:
- Go Fuck Yourself
- I Hate Everyone
- Not Your Friend
- Quarantined Puppies (this can't possibly be good)
...though they also do a poppy cover of the Ska classic "A Message to You, Rudy". It clocks in at 1:44.
Although they sound like snot-punk to me Canker Blossom prefer the term "pop-punk", possibly because they actually know how to play their instruments and sound good and so on. Perhaps we can compromise on "snot-pop"? Sounds sick. I hate when I'm that sick.
This is what a real Punk Band is supposed to be. No glamour, just rock and attitude. Also a really cool logo. They even sell their albums DIY style: free but please donate. So fuck yeah, they're awesome, go see them.
Shirt/Pants at DC9
Shirt/Pants may be better known as "That's really their name?" Yes that is really their name, no you don't pronounce the slash, and yes it is an awfully memorable name. "Shirt/Pants" is the nosegay of rock-n-roll, a name which burrows into your memory and never leaves.
Musically Shirt/Pants is hard to pin down. A lot of their best stuff, songs like "Knockoff" and "Nadsat", are straightforward pop-punk. So four college kids made pop-punk band, nothing new there, right? But then "What Would You Rather" and to a lesser degree "Haze & Ginger" have a noir flavor of all things. Ttheir first single was two moody songs with almost no lyrics. Safe to say that they've changed their style a wee bit in the past couple of years. So if you're reading this in 2022 and they are now a world-renowned theremin quartet that is not my problem. Back in 2016 they were a fun garage/pop/punk/something band with catchy songs which had guitars and drums and so on in them.
Wildhoney at DC9
I think of Wildhoney's music as "pretty psych". Some of the elements of psychedelia are there: reverb-drenched vocals and soaring guitar solos for example. Yet somehow most of their stuff is upbeat and light, just flirting with darker emotions. Consider this: they have a song called "Horror Movie" and it's actually incredibly perky! Must be written from the slasher's point of view. They always seem to be having a good time.
Getting back to the music, Wildhoney have been labeled "shoegaze", most notably by themselves on their Bandcamp page. Fair enough. They certainly do have a lot of pedals and do spend some time looking at them. It is possible to zone out to parts of some of their songs and they aren't super energetic on stage, though that blonde guitarist went kinda nuts at the end of their last song. The thing is, this just isn't downer music. If shoegaze was a 90s thing then their music is like the 80s alternative rock which preceded it. Still endowed with that upbeat New Wave influence. Aware of the existence of depression but not currently feelin' it.