One of the quickest ways to get my attention is to have the words “zombie” or “vampire” in your band’s name or album title. Doesn’t guarantee a review, but it sure don’t hurt. It also doesn’t hurt to sound different from the hundreds of other submissions I get, as long as you also sound better than most of those, too. Fellow Brooklynites Twin Sister accomplished all three of these modest goals, and more. Their EP, Vampires With Dreaming Kids, is available for free (can’t beat the price) and is far better than most EPs that’ll cost you.
Let’s start with “Dry Hump,” with it’s melancholy refrain “Pay me, any way you want to, Pay me . . .” It’s shoegazy, but there’s so much more. For one thing, the lyrics (seemingly about a booty call) are funny and sad at the same time, and beneath the atmospheric ambient keyboards and bassline, there are actually occasional guitar hooks. It’s space music that finds form within formlessness, rather than trying to tame it with a steady beat (see Mazzy Star) or devolving into sonic experimentation that lacks any kind of grounding (see any Grateful Dead drumspace). The latter kind of cosmic shoegaze usually leaves me cold—I can’t form an emotional connection with meandering sounds—unless it’s done exceptionally well (again, see Grateful Dead). Twin Sister manages to have structure in this song, so that it’s actually a song, with a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a perfect lead track, and it segues nicely into “Ginger,” which is still a little shoegazy, but less so. It’s a love song, of sorts, but still sad, and with a slow hook that could easily have been creeping behind Duckie right before he kissed Molly Ringwald. “Nectarine,” track three, is acoustic and, in brief, beautiful. If you just check out one song from this EP, you need to hear this one. It’s also the only song on the EP with a male lead. (Although why you’d stop at one is beyond me. Again, it’s FREE everyone. Free!) The EP closes with “I Want a House,” which features odd vocal inflection and, despite my recommendation of “Nectarine,” is far and away my favorite tune on the record. It’s simple, sweet, and incredibly catchy.
This is one of the best EPs of the year to date.
We Are Two. A funky demo, also available on the band’s site.