NPR logo Viking's Choice: Puff Pieces, 'Mindhead'

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Viking's Choice: Puff Pieces, 'Mindhead'

Puff Pieces. Christopher Grady/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Christopher Grady/Courtesy of the artist

Puff Pieces.

Christopher Grady/Courtesy of the artist

In the course of a riff or a chord progression or a melody, repetition becomes meditation. The singular movement of the song becomes surreal in its one-mindedness to the point where it becomes real, an aural hypnosis. D.C. trio Puff Pieces makes minimalist, repetitive punk that is hyper-aware of its spastic funk, yet never takes itself too seriously. The band's debut album, Bland In D.C., is and isn't a tribute to the city's punk scene, is and isn't a sock in the jaw to gentrification, is and isn't whatever you want it to be.

Justin Moyer's (Antelope, El Guapo) four-chord progression for "Mindhead" is choked and clipped, as if to make clear that there will be no guitar solo — there is only Mike Andre's (Antelope) weirdly soothing monotone and frenetically smooth bass, and Amanda Maude's (Weed Tree, Caution Curves) stern groove built from a kick, a snare, a hi-hat and nothing else. There is no explosive chorus to bring us out of Puff Pieces' nervous mantra, just an existential observation: "It's just a pointless ball of noise / From which I generate these ploys / All from this wreckage of a mindhead."

Bland In D.C. comes out March 25 on Lovitt.