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Standout Track: The pummeling electro-rock jam “Eazy,” one of the songs that experimental Mount Pleasant trio Heavy Breathing has posted on its website. Composed of former members of D.C. art-house garage punks The Apes, Heavy Breathing combines sputtering, pre-programmed beats and robotic vocals with the sweat-soaked energy of a good ol’ fashioned rock show. On “Eazy,” a scuzzy riff from guitarist Erick Jackson, an arena-sized beat from Jeff Schmid, and a sunburst of synths from Amanda Kleinman give the track an unrelenting intensity. “Volume is a big thing for us,” Jackson says.
Musical Motivation: “Eazy” grew organically. “That one was based on a jam at first,” Jackson recalls. “I was playing around with a riff and everyone else just built on it.” The track’s vocals—an eerie, warped voice riffing on the titular word—is a recording of an anonymous crooner that Jackson scavenged online and then manipulated. “Tons and tons of no-name people just upload these a cappella tracks,” he says. “I’ll take maybe five different ones and chop up the words and syllables into something that seems like a hook or a melody.”
Power Trio: Over their nine-year run, The Apes went through three lead singers. When Heavy Breathing formed in 2010, they had trouble finding a singer, so they just canned the idea altogether. “The technology has caught up,” Jackson says. “Now you can inexpensively buy programs to trigger samples and stuff like that.” Plus, Jackson, Schmid, and Kleinman have known each other since their early teens, and their dynamic has become so tight that Jackson says bringing in someone else might be “awkward.” “We sometimes don’t even need to talk, we just make these weird faces to communicate. If we had a singer they’d be like, ‘What is that?’” —Lindsay Zoladz
Heavy Breathing performs March 24 at the Capitol Skyline Hotel.