A few years back, I was in Orlando for a couple of February nights. It was my 23rd birthday, and I was to accompany some friends to see Akron/Family play a show the next night. Following a fairly regrettable evening (stick with one color for your liquid poison of choice), we headed over to Backbooth, one of the few remaining smaller clubs in the Orlando area. It’s a favorite of mine both for the layout and views, and occasional stuffing in of a band that maybe should play a larger venue.
The thing I love best about music discovery is how it sometimes will take you by surprise. Opening for Akron/Family that night were two bands: local favorites Queen of Spain and a “national act” (whatever that means), Warpaint.
And in the 5 minutes it took me to write the previous sentence, I looked up and down the Internet for any semblance of information on Queen of Spain, who I’ve now seen twice, both by random happenstance. It would appear that the artist, Ju Kovacevich, moved to Brooklyn, now goes by Praything, and is giving away his latest EP Her Skin Caught the Glow for free. Check it out.
Anyway, the Queen of Spain set the good vibes (w/e) for the rest of the evening. But Warpaint killed it. Made up for four beautiful, intense and talented women, the group swept the entire room off their feet.
In retrospect, based on the variety of new material that Akron/Family played (and how they saved “Ed is a Portal,” “River,” “Everyone is Guilty” for their encore), I recall feeling that the “chick band” had stolen the show.
I had inadvertently seen an engaging, dynamic live group for the one show they’ve played in Florida since then. As I’ve written before, my state is a vacuate, black hole for the vast majority of indie bands. Either they experience the whole of the state or nothing at all. For major tours, it’s like living in Idaho – except, people actually live here.
So Warpaint’s set that night beckoned me to check out their catalogue, which to that point and to my dismay, was just a single EP: Exquisite Corpse . Later in 2010, they’d release their debut (and to this point, only) full-length, The Fool.
I will encourage fans of subdued indie rock and experimental psychedelia to check out both releases. While the full-length may seem short at 9 tracks, all tracks exceed 4 minutes, with most in excess of 5.
It’s parts psych rock and shoegaze, with reverby vocals and impending bass. But, truth be told, it’s all captivating. It’s an unexpected blitzkrieg, this – out of left field comes this bold group of ladies, finally releasing their first album after being a band for a full seven years.
Lead vocalist Emily Kokal’s voice stretches and bends all over The Fool, backed by fellow guitarists Theresa Wayman and bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg. Mixing and mastering on their EP came from Kokal’s one-time boyfriend, the John Frusciante of the unfortunate Red Hot Chili Peppers (eat it).
I’m tempted even to put this in the same listening category as some of my favorite chillwave bands because of both releases temperate moods, but I fear the Internet backlash.
Totally into it.
From their full-length debut The Fool, this is Warpaint’s “Set Your Arms Down” –
Standout tracks: “Undertow” and “Baby” and “Lizzie’s Heart Murmur”
Weakest track: “Majesty” drags a bit, but it’s not bad.
RIYL: Psychedelic rock, ambient, shoegaze. Joni Mitchell, Poliça, Bat for Lashes. I read that this band has been called “The Cocteau Twins with stones,” so there’s that.