Eight years ago, Steve Schiltz’s group of Brooklyn-based shoegazers was touring the country alongside the Vines and the Strokes and had a deal with RCA for two albums and three music videos. Today, mentioning Longwave’s run at the brass ring will likely get you blank stares. The band’s bitter critics (all former fans) attribute Longwave’s downward trajectory to consistently boring stage performances and a dramatic exit by bassist Dave Marchese during the recording of the band’s confused third album, There’s a Fire, both of which supposedly led RCA to drop the band and the group to break up. Since the mid-2000s, and save for a few scattered tours, Longwave has existed solely as a testament to the relevance of the Icarus myth and the short shelf-life of indie rock bands in a post-Pitchfork world. Enter Secrets Are Sinister, one of the least-talked about, under-hyped, and utterly fantastic albums of 2008. With the assistance of producer Peter Katis and Original Signal Recordings, Longwave dropped the shoegaze apathy, packed on the distortion, and released an album that sounds equally at home in a hip club, a Grey’s Anatomy episode, or on mainstream radio. In short: a pop-rock album with smart riffs, memorable hooks, and indie-rock integrity.
LONGWAVE PERFORMS ON SUNDAY, JAN. 18, WITH THE JACKFIELDS AND THE SHACKELTONS AT DC9, 1940 9TH ST. NW. $10. (202) 483-5000.