We seem to be running out of bands that really rock. With the announcement of Q and Not U’s split, Les Savy Fav’s indefinite hiatus and an Ian McKaye currently more interested in minimalist, bass-less rock, we’re running out of options. But as one wave ends, another comes crashing in. Dischord and DeSoto have both refreshed their rosters with somewhat different, yet still interesting and, more importantly, rockin’ acts. Frenchkiss has also followed suit, enlisting the aid of Canadians Tangiers and Detroit spazz-sters Thunderbirds Are Now! One band certainly worth watching on the New York-based indie, however, is Rahim, a band that marries the intensity of a band like Fugazi with the mysterious and off-kilter melodicism of Blonde Redhead.
Jungles, the band’s debut EP on Frenchkiss, rocks in a very unique way. “One At A Time” begins with the blow of a whistle, and they’re off! Of course, they lift off in a very unassuming way, syncopated beats laying a foundation for woozy, repeated note bends and minor-key bass and guitar harmonization. The following track, “Gasoline,” is something closer to Q and Not U’s Different Damage, minimal guitar riffs bouncing back and forth between twisty basslines and start-stop drum breaks.
“Trebuchet” begins with a much more furious guitar chugging, teasing the listener for some insane string acrobatics, though, much to the artsy reputation I imagine they plan on building, they abandon it completely for a different approach altogether. The guitars don’t scream or wail as much as jab and jerk. Here, the band sounds very much like Seattle’s late post-hardcore pioneers Unwound. In fact, if I were to pick a name that the band sounds most similar to, Unwound would most likely be my best guess.
Closer “Enduring Love” is a slightly denser composition, if only because it’s one of the odd songs that actually has chords. The guitars may even be layered, if my ears serve me correctly. It’s a nifty little pop tune, though not one by conventional standards. And that’s what makes Rahim so cool. They seem to care not for convention. They rock, but not in any way that I’m used to. Jungles is a fine introduction to this NY trio, and with a full-length on the way, there’s no doubt that we’ll be hearing more great stuff from them soon.
Unwound – Repetition
Blonde Redhead – Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons
Q and Not U – On Play Patterns
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.