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.
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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.
Following videos from Sofar’s London and Philadelphia venues, PopMatters takes you back once again to Sofar London, this time for a performance by the very promising indie quartet HUGH. Helmed by Benin City vocalist Josh Idehen, the group features Idehen on vocals with Izzy Brooks, Andy Highmore on production/keys, and Tino Kolarides on guitar.