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Standout Track: No. 2, “Where’ve You Been,” which channels gritty ’90s indie rock via quiet vocals, loud guitars, and Superchunked hooks. Singer and guitarist Carni Klirs, a 26-year-old graphic designer who lives in Bloomingdale, has been writing songs for years, but the lineup that pumped out these jams has only been together since last October. That’s when Diana Vashti and Matt Wood, both dog walkers, joined on bass and drums. “The unifying factor was a love for ’90s music,” says Klirs. “There’s a specific drive to make good, honest, heavy guitar-and-bass music, not punk or hardcore.”
Musical Motivation: “Where’ve You Been” is loose and fun and fuzzy, but it’s also quirky in the Yo La Tengo vein. “I try to write power-pop,” says Klirs, “but it ends up coming out darker or more off-kilter.” The lo-fi vibe was a happy accident: The band often records its rehearsals with a single microphone. “At one practice, the takes we got were pretty damn tight,” Klirs says. The band kept the takes, overdubbed vocals and additional guitars, and decided to release the songs for free online.
Sonic Truth: Many of the demo’s lyrics date to late 2009. Klirs says they’re “particularly reflective of a long, grueling, dismal winter, and of being in my room in a winter coat, playing guitar with gloves on.” Klirs has a more comfortable spot now, but “Where’ve You Been” grapples with the larger troubles of life in a town of transients. “Running into friends of mine two or three years [after they’ve left]…,” he says, “it’s hard to comprehend how they’re such a different person.” Klirs laments the “mental dissonance”of the situation, but at least the theme lines up nicely with the band’s strangely catchy tonal dissonance.