Author Archive for Reese Higgins

One Track Mind: Big Hush, “Winner”

Standout Track: “Winner,” a sweetly fuzzed-out rocker from D.C. five-piece Big Hush. A My Bloody Valentine melody shines through the track’s big washes of distorted guitar, and its hiss-shrouded vocal harmonies could have been borrowed from Yo La Tengo. Singer-guitarist and Petworth resident Owen Wuerker, 25, recorded the song on his computer, which explains its [...]

Wayne Coyne on the Flaming Lips’ New Album, Their Super Bowl Commercial, and SpongeBob

As a teenager, I considered Oklahoma City’s alternative-rock weirdos the Flaming Lips to be my go-to “happy” music. Thoughts of frontman Wayne Coyne’s endearingly off, high-pitched voice and the band’s strange experiments with guitar-pop assured me “brighter days are ahead for the home planet.” Whenever I reached for The Soft Bulletin, I remembered it’s not [...]

Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan on D.C.’s Old Days, Yo La Tengo, and Aging Out of Sisters of Mercy

After a nine-year hiatus, indie-rock ensemble Superchunk jolted back to life in 2010 with what might have been its strongest album yet, Majesty Shredding. On that punchy, tightly wound record, Superchunk taught a younger generation of listeners what the olds already knew: It's hard not to pogo madly to this stuff. (At the band's September 2010 gig at [...]

One Track Mind: The Walking Sticks, Send the Night

Standout Track: No. 1, "Send the Night," a mildly funky pop tune crafted by the Silver Spring twins Max and Spencer Ernst, 23, and McLean vocalist Chelsea Lee, 22. A synthesized flute opens the track like the credit music of a spaghetti western. Somewhere behind these moody synths, a villain lurks: “Left me standing bare [...]

Scout Niblett on Her Make-Out Album Cover, Talking to Herself, and Snow White

Skim through the lyrics of Scout Niblett’s latest album, It’s Up to Emma, and the common threads are pretty easy to spot: anger, disappointment, desire. Something—or more accurately, someone—went wrong. The album's seething vocals; downer guitar; and carefully deployed, aching string section bring it all to life. The simmering "Woman and Man" is a prime [...]

One Track Mind: Pleasure Curses, “PNKLKR”

Standout Track: No. 1, “PNKLKR” (“pink licker”), a cool synth-pop single built on a hand-clappy drum sample by Jugzy Jord, a.k.a. Jordan Gelling. The rest comes from Pleasure Curses’ main producers, Jahn Alexander Teetsov, 23, and Evan Maxwell Grice, 22, who throw in a sci-fi bassline and a bath of calming synth sounds. Amid it [...]

One Track Mind: Brenda, Aminals

Standout Track: No. 1, "Make a New Friend," a shambolic indie-rock number with a disco-driven beat. On it, singer and guitarist Dave Lesser, a 28-year-old Capitol Hill resident, complains about networking at shows: "Cementing relationships/Oh, what a chore." Drummer and vocalist Leah Gage, who lives in Columbia Heights, says she doesn't relish the formalities involved [...]

One Track Mind: The Beginner’s Mynd, “Hazy”

Standout Track: No. 1, “Hazy,” a psych-pop song that’s not as sunny as it seems. The track derives an upbeat sheen from its Lennonesque vocals, pleasant guitar jangle, and happy Farfisa organ tones, but darkness hangs over songwriter Dan McNabb’s seemingly uplifting tune. “I look for the sun to burn out my eyes/'Cause what I’ve [...]

One Track Mind: Technophobia, “Waltz Demise”

Standout Track: “Waltz Demise,” the first release from new three-piece synth-wave band Technophobia. The song channels a feeling of being lost in ink-black darkness. “Oh godhead/Can't you hear me/Screaming through this misery/With arms spread/To exhaustion/Please take this life away from me,” belts out vocalist Denman Anderson, a Logan Circle resident. It’s not exactly subtle. “There’s [...]

One Track Mind: Greenland, Evil Spring

Standout Track: No. 5, “Silver Spring.” Greenland likes to pay tribute to The Replacements, and here it looks to a hallmark of that band’s (and many others’) 1980s sound: the chorus effect, which transforms the track with a ricocheting lead guitar part. In the final minute, distortion and a blasting saxophone swell into a Montgomery [...]