After locating to San Francisco the three-piece band Hearders comprised of Austin Smith (vocals/guitar), Kyle Nosler (drums/vocals) and Ryan Andersen (bass) dedicated most of their time to making music. Although I am no fortuneteller this band will most likely have some success if they continuously tour and make a steady stream of new music. I say this because their EP Mateo is a gem that underground indie music fans should eat up. For comparison’s sake you can hear similarities to the art punk duo No Age, Modest Mouse and the now defunct Wolf Parade.
The band really makes the most of their minimal setup of guitar, bass and drums. This tried and true classic setup of instruments still can impress me when it's in the right hands and Hearders does just that. The band manages to keep the songs consistently engaging. Each instrument is integral to the mix and forms an almost perfect symbiotic relationship.
The EP kicks off with “Don't Matter How Far (Easy On)” which has the right kind of upbeat energy you usually want from an opener. It trudges forward with catchy vocals and by the second verse I was thoroughly impressed by the dynamic versatility each element brought to the table. I immediately noticed how tight, in sync and in the pocket the bass and drums were.
By the time I got to the second track “W E T R I D E S” it was confirmed that the relationship between the bass and drums was something special. I will argue that there is a difference between a bassist and a drummer playing in time together versus playing in the pocket. Andersen and Nosler play in the pocket and the difference is they play off the nuances and subtleties of the other person’s performance. For example a snare drum hit harder may cause an instant reflex for the bass to be played softer in a slight different way. You can literally feel that energy, which I think so far has not been able to be replicated by electronic music.
Although the bass and drums were the backbone I can't neglect the guitar playing. On “W E T R I D E S” Smith viciously slashes away at chord progressions that require some creative prowess and goes on to makes shards of reverb-laced white noise, which cover the frequency spectrum.
The band’s loose, raw art punk vibe “The Weak Hours” is surely one that will translate well live. It sounds chaotic but it also happens to be perfectly in time. The closer “Cholame” veers away from the other three songs. That Modest Mouse vibe I mentioned earlier is present in the song but is subtle. There’s a bit more melancholy and it still feels cathartic like the other song.
This band is one to look out for. Mateo goes four for four with the songs and I hope to hear more from these guys soon.
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