The most daring band to come out of Washington DC since Smart Went Crazy is easily Bald Rapunzel. I remember seeing them play at the last Smart Went Crazy DC show and being completely drawn in by this angelic singer and this small girl behind the kit with an amazing smile. The next time I saw them play was in the basement of the resin house, a good year later. The sound was shit and you couldn’t distinguish instrument from instrument, but I tell you, I never saw a band put more of themselves into a performance then that.
What Bald Rapunzel does best is create a very sonic and hypnotic atmosphere with their music. They are not afraid to explore territories of dueling guitars as those that might be engaged in a challenge. The movements of the stings vibrations against each other are like fighters in their violent dance, a choreography of mayhem, and poetic in all movements. The rhythm section lays down an impressive backdrop creating sucker punches below the belt. The fatal blow is the voice of Bonnie Schlegel. I can only describe it as the voice one might hear of a captured angel, crying out for rescue through out eternity. No sound, created by any human has shaken me as much as Bonnie’s has both live and on this CD. There is not a moment of hesitation, and nothing is left behind. Classic singers and bullshit pop divas do not have the drive or passion or pleasure or pain that young Schlegel has.
Like any good record, Diazepam plays like a cinematic presentation. However, unlike most plot lines, this one opens with a dramatic opening like a murder or rape and losses no hesitation into the busy instrumental “Salute to Nova Scotia.” The focus of the tragedy is taken away, but not for long. Bald Rapunzel weaves the listener into a complex and tearing story line, only to give you some fucked up ending that makes no sense of the altercations through out the narrative. Nothing but brilliant.
Music should make you scared. It should shake the fuck out of the listener. It should engage and confuse and hurt and fuck with the listener. Bald Rapunzel does this, with not regard for the victim. They do it however in such a brilliantly beautiful way that the self-infliction is well worth it every time.
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// Notes from the Road
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