For the past couple of years, Collider, the D.C./Virginia shoegaze quartet, have been one of the local music scene’s best-kept secrets. Formed in 2015, the band—comprised of guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Hand, guitarist Nicole Morris, bassist John Crum, and drummer Ryan Burke—play a kind of slack-jawed shoegaze/grunge hybrid that feels like a lost relic of the ’90s. That’s most apparent on “The River,” from the band’s new 7-inch that’s set to drop on Saturday, at the band’s record release show at Black Cat. The song also gets an appropriately hazy music video— collaboration between the band and Mike Edwards of the band Feral Ponies.
In an earlier life, “The River” existed as more of a straight-up grunge song—a bit faster and a bit cleaner. But the re-recorded, remixed version leans hard into its shoegaze tendencies: A cascade of distorted and wailing guitars nearly obscures Hand’s lyrics, which he tells City Paper is “a commentary on a young generation that has grown numb to violence, almost to the point of apathy due to some constant threat of war, violence in society/news, and practically ignored or mistreated by adults and the political climate.” Hand adds: “It’s a concept I think is as relevant today as it was in the ’80s.”
These days, it might seem like ’90s nostalgia has reached its apex—hell, did you hear there’s going to be a Roseanne revival?—but Collider’s thoughtful, fuzzed-out grunge isn’t so much nostalgia-baiting as it is the next evolution of its genre’s enduring legacy.
Collider plays a record release show on Saturday at the Black Cat with Wildhoney and Big Hush. 9 p.m. $10-$12.