Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Profile: Washing Machine

I'm the kind of person that didn't "get" the first Strokes album... at first. Back in 2001, most of my friends immediately fell for the eternally catchy Is This It, but it took me several listens to get into it at all, and several more to start picking up on why everyone else liked it so much. Point being: I'm slow, and rock music usually doesn't hit me very fast, even when it is super poppy and easy to listen to (like the Strokes). Considering my M.O., I was very surprised when Washing Machine's song "Heart Like a Megaphone" burned itself on to my brain upon first listen (I wonder if anyone else had the same experience hearing the song on the We Shot J.R. myspace page over the past few weeks). I was even more shocked when I discovered that there are several other Washing Machine songs that are almost as instantly catchy and just as interesting as "Megaphone," despite the fact that these guys have only played one or maybe two real shows. After one quick listen, I wanted to know more.

I know I know. You're sick of hearing about the great new band that has only played one or maybe two real shows. Me too. But Washing Machine have actually been playing together for a lot longer than that, and you'll hear the proof almost instantly. A couple of years ago, Mike and Earl Hanson (cousins) got together to record some bedroom demos that would later be the foundation for Washing Machine. Some time later, they started adding different people into the mix and crafting a bigger sound with a new focus on live instruments. Adding Brandon Alvey on guitar, Gomez on keys, Jason King on synths and theremin, and Catia Quinones on xylophone and percussion caused the Washing Machine sound to change quite a bit from its original incarnation on the demos, but everyone liked what they heard and decided to move forward. The group practiced for a fairly long period of time before recording or playing live, slowly tightening their sound and actually, you know, trying to sound good before they started playing gigs. But just as they got ready to venture out and play in public, their drummer decided to quit. So that he could move to South Africa to play drums in a Russian circus. Not kidding.

This forced them to cancel some shows and reconsider what they were going to do next, considering that finding a drummer in DFW who doesn't completely suck is pretty hard to do. Fortunately they figured it out pretty fast, somehow, and recently played what we think was their first show with My Heart is a Machine, with what we think was a temporary drummer. (we're a little foggy on who played drums at that gig, but we know for sure that they are looking for a new drummer, and are accepting applications on their myspace page)

Washing Machine lists a lot of Elephant 6 bands as influences, and although we can see a connection due to their occasional use of horns and the airy pop sensibility that makes itself instantly apparent, we also hear a lot of bedroom pop in their songs (like Magnetic Fields, Russian Futurists, Skeletons, etc.), along with a light touch of Chicago post rockers like Sea and Cake, some Starlight Mints, and yes, a little Of Montreal thrown in for good measure. But really, they don't sound a lot like any of those bands, and we can already tell that they are going to sound less and less like them as they continue to create new material. To put it simply, they sound like a band that is actually crafting something new out of their influences rather than just sounding like them.

If you haven't heard these guys yet, download the tracks below. Because if there is one new band in Dallas that will immediately get your attention, one that has us genuinely excited about their future, it is Washing Machine. And you'll probably only have to listen once.

"Heart like a Megaphone" Link

"Days go By" Link

"Technology" Link

Days Go By and Heart Like a Megaphone are kind of quiet for some reason, so turn em up.


Blogger washingmachine said...

we do have a drummer named Daniel, who is a great drummer, but he will be moving to Oklahoma in June...unfortunately. so, yes, we will try you out if your interested.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed not only a lovely band, but also a lovely group of people. I've had a few chances to sit down play a little bass & guitar w/ Brandon, Josh & the beautiful Catia & it is always good times. There just ain't no one around who has this sound.


9:45 AM  
Blogger jonofdeath said...


1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

really good stuff. kinda reminds me of the unicorns, but that's a good thing. i think i like washings machine's arrangements better though..

4:20 PM  
Blogger Dirt E Girl said...

Sounds awesome!! love it
Dirt E Girl

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Joey said...

I regret leaving this band (sigh.) These guys are destined for big things!

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

washing machine is the single greatest band to hit dallas!

- voot cha!

8:22 PM  
Anonymous KatieMac said...

Instant love. Just like my first listen to "12:51."

9:30 AM  
Blogger Treblephone said...

Just saw them at The Lollipop Showcase at Club Dada...and they were fantastic.

And I would have bought their CD -----had they not been giving them away!

2:42 AM  

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