Wake Up, Hypoluxo, and Washa at Radio-Active Records Brought a Little Bit of the Future and a Lot of the Past
Music can make you feel old.
Standing in the aisles of a record shop waiting for an in-store performance, you come upon used records from your youth. You scratch your head wondering if that can be right, that it has been 26 years since De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising came out.
Then the opener Washa takes the floor equipped with a guitar and a laptop computer, and you feel positively ancient. You own a flannel shirt older than this talented kid, and he's pouring out optimistic bedroom confessionals and confidently baring his soul about the origins of the songs to the 30 people listening among the stacks of records to his five-song set. Excited as hell about going on his first tour and hopeful he can sell enough T-shirts on the road to eat, Washa makes you feel every one of the years you have on him.
But the great thing about music is, like nothing else, it can also make you feel young again.
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The whippersnappers in Hypoluxo and Wake Up both played with a formula perfected by the Beatles: two guitars, one drum, one bassist. Each band has only one singer, as harmonies might get in the way of the alternatingly clean and clingy-clangy grooves they're riding you away on. With the soundtrack of each band providing an abbreviated half-dozen song set, if you took away the racks of LPs and replaced them with CDs, it could almost be 1995. Ironically, of course, one the bands sells its music at the store only on cassette.
That band, Hypoluxo, is originally from West Palm Beach but now lives in New York. Its recordings sound nearly interchangeable with the National mostly due to its singer Sam Cogen's deep singing voice, but live, the vocals were droned out by the instrumentation, making it more difficult to put a finger on its influences. Though with the band's second guitarist having his back turned to the crowd, it's clear the guys definitely went to the shoegazing school of performing arts.
Wake Up's touchstones were easy to pinpoint. The way the singer intones his lyrics makes you want to stop the band midset to scream, "Holy Guacamole, your favorite band is Pavement too!" There wasn't much room for the group to move around in the front nook of Radio-Active Records. Even in more spacious quarters, they didn't seem the types to wish to expend too much energy. Instead, they put their all into the music, transporting everyone in the store with their slacker rock into a time capsule from the best of times, whatever year that might have been.
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