The Blacks' (from left) JDK Blacker, Luisa Black and Gavin Black.
The Blacks' (from left) JDK Blacker, Luisa Black and Gavin Black. Julie Schuchard
With the garage rock revival, the gritty, unrefined noise-pop sounds of the '80s from bands such as the Pixies and the Jesus and Mary Chain have bubbled back to the surface. The Blacks' ragged, gutsy sound fits right in, capitalizing on the perennial market for raw rock. The three-piece band's debut LP, Nom de Guerre, offers a minimalist approach fueled by equal doses of energy and verve.
Dialing in under 29-minutes over nine tracks, the Blacks keep things tight and precise on the album. Without a single song exceeding four-minutes, the trio sticks to short, jagged, punkish tunes built on one guitar, drums and a tambourine. "The whole principle of The Blacks is to see how much you can do sonically with very little instrumentation," says guitarist and lead singer Luisa Black.
The record opens with "Raincoat," a quick, jumpy track defined by its punctuating guitar jabs and Luisa's squeals and grunts. The band's raw, unpolished sound lends it an undeniable immediacy. Between the biting guitars, punk-rock stylings and Luisa's attention-grabbing squall, the Blacks' comparisons to New York's Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Karen O are all but inevitable.
With two members living in San Francisco and one in New York, the band splits time playing shows on both coasts. The band recently debuted a concept it calls "The Tambourine Experiment," in which 100 tambourines are handed out to the audience to play the full set with the band. The group has just finished recording a new EP, which it hopes will be released on a new label in the fall.
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