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coverpic flag US - Washington - Full Moon 239 - 02/22/16

So Pitted
Sub Pop Records / Playground

And... it's back to Sub Pop and Seattle. Is there a new grunge wave on? Anyone? Again?

So Pitted is a new threesome out of Seattle, pounding out noisy, minimalistic, alternative punk rock. The players are Nathan Rodriguez (guitar/vocals/drums), Jeannine Koewler (guitar, through a bass amp), and Liam Downey (guitar/vocals/drums). neo - all titles are presented in lower-case captials - had two singles ou last year with "rot in hell" and "holding the void" (which are some of their earliest songs), while "feed me" saw the light of day in early 2016. When Rodriguez describes their music he calls it 'an abstract exploration into feelings, songs, and concept'. Rodriguez and Downey both sing and they often switch instruments. They are for sure a new 'new wave music' and a noise outfit band. When hearing So Pitted, I recall some of the 'outer-field' music of Virgin Prunes and The Pop Group, but the early dirt-pop of Nirvana as well as Mudhoney and Tad also come to mind. To quote Rodriguez, 'Mudhoney is cool but Tad is rad', as well as 'we are subjected to grunge by default but it's not that bad.'. The band was named after a YouTube video clip 'going viral', of a surfer standing on the shore in front of mountainous early-morning waves, relaying to a TV reporter the glory of the ocean conditions from which he has just emerged' (Sub Pop), but according to Rodriguez, the band's music is more than that as he feels the band ' way more than just that gung ho, slacker-speak catchphrase. They are about 'following through instead of bailing.'

So Pitted scream with anger, hatred, intense frustration and misunderstanding, which turns them into some kind of nihilist punk band. Like they say, or scream in "get out of my room": 'Trust nobody'. The band 'bonded over a shared love of alternative music: Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta' (Sub Pop), to make a 'rock band that embraced nonlinear songwriting', but they're also inspired by calmer (and weirder) acts. Downey is said to be a 'new wave fanatic' and a 'longtime ballet dancer whose love of aesthetes and bands like Cocteau Twins'. 'I love Devo. I don't think any of us are into one style, we all have our conventions, we're all really snobby artists but at the same time we're normal people who listen to Backstreet Boys because it's what we heard growing up.' All the quotes aside, I am not all that conviced of the band's flaming, burning, torching songs going on a blazing rampage, aiming for a 'subvert, poppy, creepy tone, ... catchy in a cool, dark way.' according to Koewler, who continues: I can't help it - I like pop music! Nathan and Liam, the two of them together are a weird pop force that is unlikely.' Most magazines, including Drowned In Sound, Pitchfork, and Uncut have raved about neo. Well, I am not that impressed by their blasting collection of torch songs. Their twisted, noisy pop songs don't reach to me yet. They just leave me cold and confused. Maybe I'm too old.

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