DC’s True Womanhood is a three-piece band that makes experimental, avant pop. While their sound owes much to touchstones like Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen, it’s not just a post-punk pastiche. The band, comprised of Thomas Redmond (vocals, guitar) Melissa Beattie (bass) and Noam Elsner (drums, electronics), is unafraid to reach for contemporary sounds, spending more time looking forward than back.
On last year’s Basement Membranes EP, True Womanhood demonstrated their mastery of their favorite genres. “The Monk” opens the EP and sets the tone: macabre and brooding. “Dignitas” is either about the Roman concept of dignity or the assisted suicide organization of the same name. The down tempo jam, with it’s vertigo-inducing “don’t look down / or you’ll fall” lyric, builds and swells to a breakdown that is funky in the same way that Nine Inch Nails’ “into the void” is funky. Other standouts are “Rubber Buoys,” which would fit in on OK Computer, and “Magic Child,” which emerges from a foreboding haze before breaking out the “punk” in post punk.
“Dream Cargoes,” off their forthcoming record, builds on the sounds of Basement Membranes. A delay-heavy guitar riff plays off a goth disco beat, along with the band’s characteristically gloomy, nostalgia-heavy lyrics: “You’re a big boy / you’re a preteen / but you’re no man.”
True Womanhood continues to experiment, incorporating new sounds into their established aesthetic. “The Grey Man” is unnerving and spooky, utilizing a rudimentary industrial beat and muted chords, with filtered vocals. The moombahton-influenced “Minajah” actually sounds more like witch house to me, with the skittering synths of Salem. But in keeping with their DIY, lo-fi stylings, they crafted the song with reel-to-reel tape and analog effects.
After a successful 2010, True Womanhood is poised to breakout in 2011. The band has a few East Coast dates lined up that shouldn’t be missed.
Mar 11 – The Rock Shop – Brooklyn, NY
Mar 12 – Kungfu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
Mar 13 – The Red Palace – Washington, DC