By Lane Claffee
November 10, 2017
“A band of misfits making bluesy-jazzy-weird-shit.” That’s the description that Charlotte based four-piece Blame the Youth have given themselves, but honestly, that’s putting it lightly. Citing diverse influences ranging from neo-soul royalty Erykah Badu to the progressive metal band The Contortionist, the band’s eclectic taste and talent makes a noise all its own.
Blame the Youth consists of members: vocalist Francisco Gomez, lead guitarist Alexa-Rae Ramkissoon, drummer Kynadi Hankins, and bassist/vocalist Amber Daniel. Since releasing their first single in 2015 on various streaming services, in just two years, they have been featured in various national news outlets, such as Afropunk, and had a set on Charlotte’s latest edition of ReverbFest. They also recently played the 2017 Charlotte Pride festival, appearing as the only Charlotte band on the bill.
On March 5, 2017, they released their debut EP, The Hourglass EP. As the band cites influence from so many diverse figures and genres, it’s difficult to pin down an exact genre on the sounds they create. The band manages to pack several different hints of blues, jazz, alternative rock, and neo-soul, but the genre-rambling doesn’t stop there. Throughout the record, there are guitar riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on an album by Minus the Bear or This Town Needs Guns. It’s an experience you really have to hear for yourself to get the full gist. Though, what else would you expect from a band that notes Haitus Kaiyote and Animals as Leaders as some of their main influences?
Highlights of the record include the beautiful yet sparsely-vocaled “5th Street,” as well as the grooving “Abaca.” Overall, the band aptly condenses so many different styles into this EP, that it’s intriguing to think about all the musical ground they could cover on a full-length album in the future. The Hourglass EP is available for streaming on all major streaming services, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Google Play. Physical copies are also available at Repo Record and Lunchbox Records.
Aside from their music, the band also has goals in terms of challenging other facets of convention, such as the typical image of a rock band. “The traditional image of a band is typically very pale and extremely masculine in nature,” the band’s site says. “In an industry and a world that is heavily saturated with the likes of men, this band, comprised of four young people from different backgrounds, will challenge those images and more.” It’s true: while there are bands here and there that get time in the spotlight that don’t fall into the category of exclusively white males, the number of them is not very high. The industry has been, and still is, definitely heavily saturated in that sense, and it’s refreshing to see a band that is outside of that classification get recognition.
Blame the Youth recently debuted a joint music video of their songs “POTK” and “Abaca” off of the The Hourglass EP. Taking place in a “Blame the Youth Testing Facility,” the video shows off just as much creative individuality as their music does.
Watch the music video for “POTK” and “Abaca” by Blame The Youth.