Preview: Whirr, Wildhoney, Serfs and Girl Pants.

By Shirley Griffith 

April 13, 2015

Mondays are for overplayed Garfield memes about the dreading realization of another monotonous week starting all over again, right? Not so, if you choose to spend your time more wisely. For instance, this Monday night, kick the beginning of the week in the teeth by swaying to dreamy shoegaze revivalists, Whirr, at the Neighborhood Theatre playing with Wildhoney and local guitar-rich bands, Serfs and Girl Pants. Whirr’s latest album, Sway, is a mesmerizing reflection of the California sextetts 90’s-era shimmering guitars and introverted influences. Compared often to the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, Whirr’s west coast origin sludges and wanes itself into their sound through lingering, haunting guitars and despondent  vocals that crash like spellbound waves into the swirling, yearning bass and drum background.

whirr2
Whirr

Baltimore five-piece, Wildhoney stream through with a poppier approach to the gaze-y offerings the night appeals to. Playfully intoxicating, the breathy voice of Lauren Shusterich nods to previous haze bands like Lush or even Blonde Redhead’s ‘23’.  Aqueous guitars, layered with harmonies are punctuated by droning bass and quick-beat drumming. Wildhoney just released their first full length, ‘Sleep Through It’ in January of 2015 but its recommended you disregard their advice because sleeping through their performance would assuredly be a grave mistake.

wildhoney
Wildhoney

Local support comes from shoegaze hometown-heroes, Serfs. Serfs’ pedal-heavy setup allows the four-piece to hone their dreamy guitars into roaring, riveting fuzz over the oscillating discordance of their live performance. Instantly captivating are the dream-pop influences that build into formidable white-noise peaks of glistening distortion. Serfs are currently recording and will release their first full-length within the year. Girl Pants is a gloomy, sextet that uses their many guitars to create an enthralling wall of shadowy sound over which to yell out existential nausea. The Charlotte-based band is a force of heavy ambience. Their sound immediately takes over the room, building a merciless pressure that fascinates and burdens the listener with a somehow familiar doom until you fear it may crush you, inexplicably ending lonesome and quiet, like the silent drip of the last, exhausted raindrop after a heavy thunderstorm. I spoke with vocalist Rusty Colton to get a better insight into creating this sort of sound.

CLTure: Having six people in a band seems a little overwhelming, schedule-wise. How do you all coordinate practices and ideas?

Rusty Colton: Oh for sure, it’s ridiculous. It’s definitely not easy, especially because everyone has vastly different work schedules and the like. I, in fact, am absolutely terrible at making all of our practices. It’s definitely a struggle– like anxiety inducing, even. As for fleshing out ideas and practicing, we’re lucky enough to have a space where we can play as late as we need to. Pretty standard stuff though; someone usually brings an idea to practice and we just jam the shit out of it. It comes a lot from our the rhythm section idea-wise and then we just riff from there

girlpants
Rusty Colton of Girl Pants

CLTure: What bands would you cite as Girl Pants’ influencers as well as ‘guilty-pleasures’?

RC: Well, I can only speak for myself I guess, but there are a lot of strange influences for everybody. mewithoutYou might be the only band we all agree on. For me though, At the Drive-in is my favorite band in the world and I love some of those older screamo acts like Saetia and Circle Takes the Square. Glassjaw’s record Worship and Tribute was a really big deal to me too. Lyrically, stuff like William Blake (whom I liberally rip off), Ezra Pound, William Wordsworth, shit like that shapes the way I write more than music has I guess. Guilty pleasures: PANIC AT THE FUCKING DISCO THAS WHAT

CLTure: Girl Pants would most likely fit under a ‘hardcore’ genre if we’re going to stick bands in buckets, but there is a distinct intellectual aspect that shines unmistakably through your sound. How is this unique element cultivated?

RC: Thank you, that’s very cool of you to say! Yeah, aggressive music is weird because it’s just so easy to call it hardcore or what have you. But I never really identified with that. So it feels like a misnomer to me (regardless of what our Facebook may say). I wouldn’t say there’s anything our approach is especially intellectual, it’s just that I think pretty everyone in the band has been playing together in great bands for forever, so songwriting comes quickly, leaving a lot more time for adding quirks or polishing and that sort of stuff. And I guess like I said, we all have different weird music tastes, which helps.

CLTure: There is a certain sense of pensive brooding throughout GP’s sound. Artistically speaking, where does this ever-present anxiety originate? Is it more of a burden than a blessing to harness?

RC: I think it comes largely from my ever-present anxiety. The music and it’s process would probably be a lot smoother without that, honestly. It keeps me out of practice sometime and it gets pretty difficult, but lots of folks deal with it. Musically and mentally, Girl Pants for me is an important step as far as taking control of a chemical imbalance or whatever you wanna call it instead of letting it control you. When I put it into songs, I feel like I’m manipulating it. It can feel powerful.

girlpants2

CLTure: You have been in bands before as a guitarist but now you’re solely a vocalist for Girl Pants. What are your feelings on this transition; do you feel more exposed performing without an instrument?

RC: Oh shit, it’s so much better. I have always wanted to be a poet, but growing up nobody likes poetry really. You’re just THAT misunderstood teenage boy and that just seemed like a fate worse than death. So I picked up guitar and started music as a vehicle for poetry. Then I saw a live At the Drive-in video when I was like 17 and I decided that’s what I wanted to do. It’s a dream come true honestly. Guitar has always felt like an anchor more than anything. Now I’m free to do dumb dances and drink a lot more.

CLTure: I hear Girl Pants is working on some new music. Will there be a physical full-length release of these songs soon?

RC: Interesting question. I can’t say too much, I’ve been instructed to be mysterious. There is new music, yes. It has been recorded, yes. It will be released as soon as possible.

CLTure: Charlotte can very easily get slack because bigger bands often opt out of coming through here. What are your personal thoughts on the Charlotte music scene and the crowds?

RC: Well. I think Charlotte has some amazing bands. I think Charlotte is artistically fledgling, yet. In the sense that it has an amazing opportunity to not have “that Charlotte sound” or any shit like that. My friend Lenny said it best when he said “Charlotte hasn’t happened yet” and I think that’s such a cool sentiment, in an artistic context. And you see it y’know? You see bands popping up all the time. Shit, I really don’t want to ramble too much, but new bands pop up and they put out music quickly and then stop. I think it’s really difficult to play good shows on merit and merit alone, and that’s definitely a bummer. Knowing the right people is essential. Bands break up because they aren’t playing to anybody who gives a shit or their perennial openers. I would love for bands with no friends in high places to blow up. That’s a cool thought to me. No slight against bands that don’t struggle to bring people out or have great connections, because that’s certainly a part of the DIY ethos and I have lots of music friends who certainly help my career. As far as crowds go, I’ve been afraid to take this stand before because of my own insecurities about it, but here it is: DON’T HURT PEOPLE AT SHOWS I will never ever be okay with bands encouraging that bullshit. It infuriates me. I don’t think anyone should feel unsafe at a show. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to think about other people’s wellbeing before you do things. If you are going to crowd kill or do anything that you know could ruin someone’s night, DON’T COME TO OUR SHOWS. Please, please, please shake your ass. Please sing along. Please don’t hurt people. And if you do, take responsibility. I am not without guilt, but it’s time we make shows a place for anybody who wants to enjoy music. Sorry that was super long.

In this article