>5K: Volume 6
There’s an xkcd comic that exposes the secret coalition to make certain YouTube videos go viral: they have to get exactly “300+” likes from the committee, and are then certified to spread like the plague onto innocent newsfeeds worldwide.
In that vein, I present you with <5K: an exposition on bands that have less than 5,000 likes online. Perhaps one of them will be the next to pass that mysterious threshold into the world of fame and fortune. After all, once you get 5,000 likes, you sell out every show and your records go gold. That’s how it works, right?
*Submissions* If you’re in a band, your friend is in a band, or you just know a band with less than 5,000 likes that deserves to be heard, send a link to email@example.com. If I like it, I’ll put them in an upcoming edition of <5K!
Night Kitchen (111 likes) are a band at work. Their latest 7”, “Thai Iced Tea”/”Chief,” is 6 minutes of moxious, caffeinated indie rock. The titular A-side finds the band shaping a super-percussive sound like a clay vessel on a pottery wheel, crafted out of drum-led rhythms and bending to unexpected chords for a solid 2 minutes of instrumental cookery, before singer and guitarist Jordan Levine adds in smooth lines about coming home. Levine’s vocals are almost a garnish atop the carefully-mixed cocktail of guitar, bass, drums, and synths, standing out in context but not dominating the balance. In this regard, Night Kitchen might draw sonic comparisons to My Morning Jacket. Like the delicious drink of its namesake, Thai Iced Tea is refreshing, lively, and makes me want to move. Listen to Night Kitchen and hope they come out with a full-length soon.
Baklavaa (611 likes) are a Baltimore band cooking up something strange and good. Their album Spiral Cramp from 2013 is a far-out spiked concoction of noise, post-punk, sludge, and dance-punk, with tens of other microgenres peeking through the haze of distortion and chameleonic sonic manipulation. They never wear out an idea, choosing instead to cycle rapidly through multiple structures within each song like bullets in a chamber. Tracks like “Handbook for the Recently Deceased” and the intro to opener “Holy Blood” reveal a drone influence on Baklavaa, though truly, the closest comparison I can draw is to Mr. Bungle. If that means something to you, I’ve said enough; if not, you should probably listen to Mr. Bungle. Then go listen to Baklavaa.
- Recommended tracks: “Salsa Shark,” “Holy Blood,” “Mysterious Jeffries”
Beach Slang (1,975 likes) exploded onto the East Coast punk scene this spring with their breakneck-paced EP, Who Would Ever Want Something So Broken? The 4 concise songs combine the driven energy of classic distorted chords with astute lyricism about being young, fucked up, and trying to make sense of love. It blurs the line between not giving a damn and thinking all too much, right on the corner of punk and poetry. It’s an astoundingly strong first offering, both musically and in concept. Beach Slang recently announced their upcoming record Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street, out on the Tiny Engines label September 30th. Big things are in store for this band, and people with their ears to the ground have already begun to take notice.
- Recommended tracks: “Filthy Luck,” “Get Lost”
VLMA (2,095 likes) is a rock duo, also from Baltimore, led by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Alex Velle. Their recent record Slime is a scathing 4-song breath of fire. It’s straightforward, opening with dark riffs and unabashed, mosh-ready choruses. It’s high energy and direct, like staring into the sun. Velle’s guitar work is nuanced enough to place a step above most standard punk guitarists; his angry vocals, capable of switching between strongly melodic and harshly screamed, are what seal the deal. 4 songs about cyberbullying, boredom, and acceptance of disappointment add up to a promising step forward.
- Recommended tracks: “Phil Wood,” “Slime”
The Motel Beds (2,383 likes) tried to think up the dirtiest, nastiest thing possible for their name. The Dayton, OH band is constantly evolving musically, never settling with one sound. They’ve been playing together for a while now, and they’ve covered a wide range of musical ground, from folk-punk to lo-fi; their most recent LP, Dumb Gold, is their best yet. Dumb Gold is heavy with the hooks. It’s catchy, carefully crafted power pop, with tons of nuances and interesting influences. They’re just loads of fun and catchy as all hell. From the infectious rocker opener “Smoke Your Homework” to the cutting ballad closer “Motion Sickness,” it’s a sublimely balanced record. Throw in the lovely guitar work, top-notch drumming, and boom – it’s a fuzzy mid-fi classic.
- Recommended tracks: “Smoke Your Homework,” “Better,” “Motion Sickness”
-Asher Meerovich is a writer and musician in College Park. He likes to be near water. Read more of his musical explorations at http://hire-me-rolling-stone.tumblr.com/