- Event Details
DIIVBrooklyn four-piece DIIV began late in 2011, as the solo side project of guitarist Zachary Cole Smith. Already part of the popular surf-pop band Beach Fossils, Smith’s guitars had mostly jangled and wailed through dreamy, summery songs. With this new direction, the jangle was replaced with edgy, post-punk bite.
Originally named Dive, after the Nirvana song, the band's name changed out of consideration for a Belgian group who already possessed it. Signed early on to Beach Fossils home label, Captured Tracks, and now with the much more elusive and ominous moniker of DIIV, Smith at first released a series of demo quality singles, still finding his sound in the process. In 2012, he took his demos out of the bedroom and formed a proper live band. Recruiting long time friend and guitarist Andrew Bailey, bassist Devin Ruben Perez, and former Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, the band recorded and released their debut LP, “Oshin,” last year to critical praise and universal excitement.
The darker, industrial melodies that populate “Oshin’s” tracks are supremely engrossing and irresistibly moving. Honed in on the angular sounds and hypnotic beats that bands like New Order and The Cure pioneered, DIIV has an immediately addicting quality. As Smith’s serenely bleared vocals echo over the dueling guitars, at once sharply energized and hazily tangled, and the punching beat drives everything along; it’s right in the wheelhouse of post-punk/shoegaze/dream pop fans and anyone with a desire to get down while looking down (at the ground).
After the whirlwind year that 2012 was—a year that included playing what seemed like hundreds of shows on both sides of the pond, opening for bands like The Vaccines and Japandroids—DIIV rounded out the year by seeing their album hit basically every big “Best Of” list out there, propelling them into a new year of intense touring and most assuredly a new release. Given this kind of momentum, don’t expect DIIV to come up for air any time soon. CHARLIE SWANSON
When Heather Fortune formed Wax Idols, she was already counted among the ranks of Bay Area acts like Bare Wires and Hunx and His Punx. As her solo creative outlet, Wax Idols is a formidable blend of punk rock guitars, synths and garage pop hooks. Since the 2011 release of their debut album, “No Future,” the sounds of Wax Idols have sharpened considerably. Their upcoming record, “Discipline & Desire,” released this March, promises a dark, new wave influence mixed in with Fortune’s kinetic vocals and the band’s noisy aesthetic. CHARLIE SWANSON
SISUA Los Angeles synth-pop band that takes the DIY approach to music, SISU self-recorded, mixed, and released their debut EP, “Demon Tapes, Vol. 2” last year. The 5-piece was formed by Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandra Vu, and her former Midnight Movies bandmate Ryan Wood. Here, Vu steps out from the drums, singing with an ethereal lightness over psychedelic guitars and haunting synths. The hazy, dreamy atmospheres in “Demon Tapes, Vol. 2” are just the beginning for SISU, with a full-length collection in the works. CHARLIE SWANSON
LENZSan Francisco’s LENZ describe their sound as “ice-pop,” which after a listen- through of their latest EP, “Under Neon,” is as accurate a descriptor as any. Undeniably influenced by ‘70s krautrock and early ‘80s British new wave, LENZ boldly blazes trails forged by such seminal outfits as Buzzcocks, or Adam and the Ants. Songs like “In the Middle of the Night” features the band’s loyalty to barebones pop arrangements, even when they’re adding layers and layers of glittery pizzazz to the mix. RYAN J. PRADO