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Standout Track: No. 1, “Here Comes Trouble,” in which the Cheniers sound exactly like what they are—a band in a room, in this case pushing through a simple, catchy rock song in the vein of the Fall. The first track on the rough-and-tumble outfit’s debut 7-inch starts with a few stick clicks; a distorted, messy guitar; and then some atonal sax and synth. It’s lo-fi, and intentionally so, which can be jarring if you don’t know what you’re in for. But listening to the two-minute tune feels an awful lot like going to a house show and hearing a rad new band for the first time.
Musical Motivation: The group keeps its process simple. “I’ll go over to our bassist Ben [Vivari]’s place, and I’ll have the song, which is often two chords, and I’ll say, ‘Write a bass line around this,’” says the band’s frontman, David Malitz, 29. The no-BS policy applies to the lyrics, as well. “[‘Here Comes Trouble’] is pretty straightforward, I guess,” says Malitz. “The song says, ‘I liked you a lot better when you still got high.’ It’s about that.”
Sloppy Firsts: The band, which also includes drummer John Masters, recorded the single with John Howard of Hat City Intuitive at Howard’s home studio in Arlington. “It was comfortable, which we prefer to an ‘actual’ studio,” says Malitz, who also lives in Arlington and is a pop critic at the Washington Post. “We made it as live as possible—we kept the first take if possible.” That doesn’t mean Malitz didn’t wish for a do-over once in while, though. “My guitar was actually like a half step out of tune and I wanted to redo it,” he says. “But my bandmates and John Howard said to just leave it because it sounds better.”
The Cheniers perform June 12 at 8 p.m. at the Black Cat. $8.