The implied apathy of Total Slacker is all just a rouse – these guys put a lot of energy into their shows. They are adept musically and mentally. Their lyrics, despite being based around many a joke on irony and the 90s, are culturally conscious and politically aware. Their music clearly draws from influences growing up in the 90s, as well as their surrounding environment, making them one of the most relevant new bands on the scene right now. Their live show last night at Glasslands completely solidified their standout status.
Guitarist/vocalist Tucker Roundtree’s jazz roots are put to use technically, and his 90s underground influences some out in his style. The last two songs especially (video below), “Vision Quest” and “Crystal Necklace,” felt like a Neil Young/Crazy Horse jam. Roundtree shredded behind his head, beckoned the feedback spirits, and switched guitars in a lo-fi psych-rock trance. It was pretty amazing. Bassist Emily Jane, who is also classically trained, held it all together and chimed in perfectly on vocals, while drummer Ross Condon didn’t miss a beat. Now I know why Total Slacker packs a crowd – these guys are only going to get bigger and wilder.
Another standout at this show was DIVE. Composed of former members of Darwin Deez and Smith Westerns, they combine elements of Weird America with post-punk fervor. They wore clothes that didn’t fit and danced like they didn’t care. I was especially impressed by the ingenuity of the lead guitarist with his sweat pants that were bunched at the hip and tied with a rubber band. With the kicking and jumping workout he performed on stage, that rubber band held fast and kept his pants up the entire set. DIY looks aside, their songs were solid and carefully crafted. Zachary Cole Smith sang his minimally and mostly incomprehensible lyrics at the correctly calculated time, to serve as a connection between his noodling guitar riffs. His keyboard parts were even sparser, setting the tone with a single droning chord or adding the right little melody fill. These guys are another new band to watch, for sure.