There was a time – granted a long time ago – when indie rock was just dominated by fuzzy guitars, reverb, and chaotic, dueling rifts. Today, the diversity of indie rock sounds is quite expansive with more musicians take a brooding almost downcast approach to the genre, melding together the angst of alt-rock of the early 1990s, goth rock, and dark wave. The objective of the music isn’t about melting your face with fierce guitar jams but rather creating dark landscapes that simultaneously will have you nodding head to the deep bass and which take you away momentarily to another place.
One of the bands riding this wave of indie rock is Silo Halo from Washington, D.C. Composing of Alejandro Castaño, Christopher Goett, and Greg Svitil, Silo Halo have released a couple of albums, including their most recent effort, Black Transmission. The four-song EP shared similarities to some of another favourite, small band of mine – Turtle Giant, with the elongated instrumentals and distorted guitars supporting the almost robotic melodies.
Where the band excels is on tracks that have a pop tinge to the songs along with the brooding, melodic indie rock, such as on “Urban Canyons & Beginnings” and “Pinhole Camera”. Imagine Death Cab Cutie for Cutie meets really early The Cure, where even the vocals of Goett and Svitil are a blend of Ben Gibbard and Robert Smith.
But for this type of indie rock (although the band considers themselves a noise-pop collective, but that’s not important), the songwriting is interesting. The band does not write songs about the usual things, but instead tell stories about things we may not even consider. Take for example “Rosalind”, which at first glance might seem like a song dedicated to a woman by the same name. Instead, it’s a song that uses the sun as a metaphor for losing hope, and the fuzzy, airy guitars add to the effect of sunbursts exploding around you.
Black Transmission is a promising EP from a relatively new band (each of them have played in other bands previously joining forces). Their brooding approach to indie rock with pop effects is surprisingly addictive, where you keep coming back to the album to discover something new.
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