At the end of January 2015, the Washington, DC band Paperhaus—comprised of the trio of Alex Tebeleff, Eduardo Rivera, and Danny Bentley—will release its debut, self-titled album.
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As it turns out, the Last Bison isn’t just a particularly effective card to play in Cards Against Humanity; it’s also the name of a fine band hailing from “the marshes of southeast Virginia”, as its press materials describe.
On paper, it’s the sort of thing that will either make you groan or wince:who would think to bring together the worlds of punk—with its stripped-down, DIY ethos—and classical music—with its high-minded, through composed nature? The inspired duo that calls itself Teach Me Equals, however, proves that such a distinction might be spurious in the first place. Greg Bortnichak (cello, guitar, vocals) and Erin Murphy (guitar, violin, keyboard, and vocals) are making a bold declaration with their debut, Knives in the Hope Chest, which undergoes just that kind of genre-melding—although they are drawing from far more than just two spheres of influence in their songwriting.
Brooklyn Shanti is described in his press materials as “hip-hop’s official cultural ambassador to India,” a claim which, while perhaps exceptionally bold, is backed up by his being dubbed with the title “Indian Bambaataa” by Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation. For his latest tune, however, Shanti takes on a reserved, minimalist electronic style, which lets guest vocalist Dani Mari shine. The song, “Garden of Ghosts”, the video of which you can view below, is taken from Shanti’s latest studio outing, Bedstuyle.
There’s enough in the music of Bugs in the Dark to suggest that they could be comfortably categorized as an indie rock band. However, the distorted guitars and powerful vocals (courtesy of frontwoman Karen Rockower) bring to mind the recent rash of bands coming out of the occult rock subgenre, namely Jess & the Ancient Ones. In taking the spare indie aesthetic and merging it with a primal rock sound, Bugs in the Dark strike a winning balance. The band’s latest single, “Red Lines”, is a perfect example of this.