Some days you just want some crunchy garage pop to get you energized, and some days you just want some spacious reflective music as you wonder what the hell is going in your life or worse — the world. And then naturally, some days you just want both. If you want both this Sunday, well might I point you to BRONCHO playing at Strange Matter?
If you’re unfamiliar with this Oklahoma group, I’d like to point you to their 2014 single “Class Historian,” the song that served as my introduction to their frantic brand of frivolous garage music. It can be off-putting at first, something I quickly learned when passengers in my car would exclaim “What the hell is this?!?” in an exasperated tone within the first ten seconds. But there’s a charm in how simple and silly the song is as well as how the band seems to go “all in” on it. After listening to the song 50 times, I snagged their sophomore album from that year, Just Enough Hip To Be Woman, and immersed myself in their world of cheap melodies and snotty lyrics. It was great and I would have been perfectly happy had they stuck with that sound. But they didn’t… and I’m still perfectly happy.
Their new record, Double Vanity, has the band veering off in a different path into much more ambitious territory. There are still plenty of feisty riffs and pompous lyrics, but it’s a more spacious affair here that leads to serious reflection. If Just Enough Hip To Be Woman was that simple party album you know everyone would dance to, then Double Vanity is that record you put on when you go home all by yourself and wonder how much of an ass you looked like at that party. Normally, garage bands abandoning their style for something grander is an immediate turn-off — I’m still reeling from The Vaccines’ betrayal last year — but this record works and works really well. I’m not going to sit here and argue about which sound is better, but it’s clear these Oklahoma boys can pull each off convincingly enough that anyone should be curious to see how well they blend the two on stage.
Joining BRONCHO on the bill are two bands equally as creative and dexterous. Los Angeles group Winter might be my favorite new discovery of the past month, and I can’t stop listening to “Someone Like You” off of their 2015 record Supreme Blue Dream. It’s very comparable to “Class Historian” in that it works off a crazy riff that has no business being good, and yet somehow it is. Like BRONCHO, they seem drawn by two different music concepts — one being the dream pop/shoegaze world and the other of the melodic alt-rock revival currently in full bloom. Makes for a good mix just like BRONCHO and honestly, this show might be worth the $10 just to see Winter on stage.
Rounding out the bill is BIG NO, an act I continue to hear cool things about. And judging by their latest release on Bandcamp — of old songs, I believe — I can see why. This brand of spacious indie blues is right up the alley of anyone who ever cried over a Sparklehorse song or two (or 20, in my case) and should perfectly compliment the grander aspects of both Winter and BRONCHO Sunday night.
Pretty snazzy line-up here if you ask me, so fight the urge to go to bed early Sunday night. Head over to Strange Matter for some great music by two bands with some cool musical dichotomies and a local act worth everyone’s attention.
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