By Jake Woodbury Davis
Connecticut. When you think of good music, slowly infiltrating the ears of desperate high-schoolers, you may think of bands coming out of New York City or LA. But no, as hard as it is to believe, the nirvana of underground music comes from this small, stupidly wealthy state. Not only here but also from Massachusetts, and even New Jersey. This semi New England collective generally falls under the Red Rash Collective, a group started by the local bands in and around Southington, CT (which, fortunately, is my hometown). These groups of musicians are no ordinary collection of garage bands but an intense brotherhood of sweet, sweet musical happiness. The extensive list is as follows:
The Guru (CT)
Jack Tomascak + Segunda Etapa (CT)
While I can’t promise that you’ll fall in love with every band on this list, I can almost guarantee that the following bands you read about will cause you to believe that good music isn’t dead, it’s merely hiding in the suburbs of the north-east. The bands I enjoy the most, and have had the pleasure to attend the shows of, are Two Humans, The Helveticas, Nuncunt and The Guru. Two Humans, while actually having three members, is a high energy, mildly depressed, indie meets punk meets folk, ear explosion of goodness. The raspy vocalist Jason Rule can be heard singing of all the wonderful angst, drug abuse and lost love that joyfully accompanies the final years of school. He is matched by bassist Justin Dubree (also bassist of The Helveticas) and Lucas who is the drummer of this wonderful trio.
The Helveticas, a jazz/dance/punk trio matches the badassery of Two Humans, but in a totally different way. If you love to dance to songs that have serious rhythm, but are like me and physically incapable of forming dance moves recognizable to humans so you just bounce around awkwardly, this is the band for you. Nick Charlton, the drummer, has created the only beats in my musical knowledge that are simultaneously jazzy, danceable and punk-ready. Justin Dubree lays down a groove to be reckoned with. Finally, guitarist and lead singer Oscar Godoy manages to sound reminiscent of Julian Casablancas while having a truly unique voice all his own. He lays down a jazz guitar also punk in styling that I’ve never heard before.
Nuncunt, apart from having a truly offensive name, commands attention. This female duo, one-part piano and one-part drums, is a sucker punch to the face, consisting of piano riot girl punk. Don’t be fooled by the piano-filled melodies you hear; the words sung are full of venom. The music you find online has no drums, but in live performances this essential piece gives the band more kick than they already possess in copious amounts. Standing in front of pianist/vocalist Alex Saraceno I was embarrassed to have a Y chromosome.
Last but surely not least, The Guru. This is a sound you never knew you wanted, but once heard takes a hold of you like no other drug. This infectiously upbeat funk and disco-experimentalism pop supernova of music is like nothing you’ve ever heard, with a bizarre lead singer leading the way. The band’s unusual vocal styling’s and oddball lyrics only make them exude double the charm the instruments provide. I implore anyone who has ears to buy their album. Also, they start each show with copious screaming and shouting and they tend to break their instruments at the end. It doesn’t get any cooler than that.
This was your dose of local underground goodness. Thanks for reading!
FaBuLous assessment of the CT notables on the indie music set. KUDOS JWD! rock on. btw: Old Gray is a great set band… encourage anyone to go see them when they are playing within a 100 mile radius 🙂