A few years ago a band called Slowlands had a few of us convinced they were on to something great. That band was built on crystalline guitars, glockenspiels, laptops, all very much in the spirit of those days, but none of the literal bells or whistles affirmed its being tipped for greatness like the writing and vocals of central figure Josh Kolenik. Slowlands disbanded, but Josh has proven those few of us right, just a few years (and turnover of equipment and band members) later.
On Small Black, Kolenik partnered with Ryan Heyner and spent a winter working his songs and signature, emotive yet low blood pressure delivery into a fuzzy casio keys and beats project that sits at the right place (peering up from under lo-fi murk and washed out production), at the right time. There’s a torrent of artists trading and treading in the same vein, and having been awesomely remixed by the most appropriately named of the class, Washed Out, will help trend piece writers locate them some more. But Small Black have the benefit of a versatile songwriter, which helps makes them one of the better bets in a crowded field. That, and these songs they sent over: Take the glitched and swirling, hiss-swollen and dreamy melodrama of “Bad Lover” along with the gorgeous lo-fi keyboard pop of “Despicable Dogs” from the band’s forthcoming self-titled EP as downpayment. And then see what Washed Out can do when remixing something equally hypnagogic.
Small Black – “Bad Lover” (MP3)
And the lovely “Despicable Dogs” and its phenomenal remix:
The band’s playing this Saturday 9/26 at the Gowanus Studio Space at 8PM. Their Small Black EP will be self-released on 10/13 on Ryan and Josh’s CassClub label. Here’s what you can expect there:
01 “Weird Machines”
02 “Despicable Dogs”
03 “Bad Lover”
04 “Pleasant Experience”
05 “Lady In The Wires”