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Tuesday September 23rd 2014

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Ears & Fingers 3/20/14

by Jason Leger

Perfect Pussy-Say Yes to Love
“Art is hard.” Cursive’s Tim Kasher’s iconic words will always ring true. Art can be messy, painful, distressing, heartbreaking and sometimes just downright difficult. Artists can go for years making incredible works and never catch the eye of more than the immediate people who surround and love them. Considering this mindset and fear, perhaps there is a lot in a name. Syracuse’s “Perfect Pussy” are gaining quite a bit of attention because of their ‘in your face’ moniker, and that’s more than understandable. However, once (or if) you can make it past the name, I think you’ll realize this band is kind of remarkable.

The band’s full-length debut, “Say Yes to Love,” is a testament to using a gimmick and then at once overcoming said gimmick with a brilliant statement. At first glance, it’s easy to get caught up in the fitty, brawny, tantrum punk rock the band is also deservedly gaining acclaim for. You have to dig for what’s beneath the surface on this record to really discover how well layered this band is. Clocking in right at 23 minutes, this record’s urgency expresses a lack of time or concern for frills and no use for filler, but there are some interesting things filling in the gaps. Beneath the angsty, fast-paced aggression and distorted vocals, are layers of calmness and shoegazy riffs that I honestly wasn’t expecting. ‘Interference Fits’ is the album’s second single, and it’s where I first noticed these layers. When the song gains steam, there is still a calm in the background, guiding the ship. The execution is quite brilliant, making it clear that while it may be what grabs your attention, these guys are much more than a name. “Say Yes to Love” is out now via Captured Tracks.

If You Haven’t Heard: Iska Dhaaf
Sufi poetry. Catchy hooks. Surf rock guitar licks. Upbeat rhythms. Introspection. These are a few of my favorite things. Just last week, I was perusing some music blogs and sites that I frequent when I stumbled upon Seattle two-piece Iska Dhaaf (which is Somali for ‘let it go’). I’m usually somewhat hit or miss when it comes to listening to some of the dozens of artists I come across each month. I saw the track listing for the band’s new album “Even the Sun Will Burn,” which contains a song called ‘Rumi,’ and I was intrigued. Rumi was a Sufi (the more mystical branch of Islam) poet, my favorite Sufi poet actually, as he penned some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever read. So with my interest piqued, I played the video for their single ‘Everybody Knows,’ and honestly spun it on repeat for a good portion of the rest of my afternoon. It’s just a good, catchy rock song, with a bit of a dark overtone and just the right pinch of jaded cynicism. I dug a little deeper on YouTube and found the remotely ironically titled ‘Happiness,’ which really exudes singer Nathan Quiroga’s biting sarcasm, poignantly laced over a dark video. “Even the Sun Will Burn” is the duo’s debut, and if the two singles are any indication, they are a band to keep an eye on. Check out the video for ‘Everybody Knows’ and watch closely for some cameos from fellow Seattle artists you might recognize. “Even the Sun Will Burn” is out now via Brick Lane Records.