Standout Track: No. 2, “Harping.” Bleary Eyed, the new band from The Black Sparks and Big Moth teenage wunderkinds Nathaniel Salfi and Ray Brown, is something of a departure from the duo’s previous musical efforts. (They’re joined this time by friends Coby Haynes and Brandon Minor.) With a deluge of reverb and Salfi’s Ian Curtis-esque crooning, “Harping” starts slow and melodic, slowly gnawing until a fuzzy guitar riff launches the song into more bouncy pop-punk territory.
Musical Motivation: Existential angst, essentially. Salfi wrote the lyrics to “Harping” in June of 2015, when he was “in somewhat of a dark place.” The lyrics, Salfi says, “are basically me trying to reassure myself that things will turn out OK.” It’s easy to fall into empirical despair when you’re still trying figure out What It All Means, but in the coda of “Harping,” Salfi clings to optimism among the darkness: “Despite what you say, you’re nothing more than a living thing/ Despite what you say, your life has no inherent value/ Despite what you think, that doesn’t mean you should give it up/ All that’s left is what you choose to leave behind.”
All Fuzzed Out: On its debut four-song EP, released earlier this month on Bandcamp, Bleary Eyed sounds like a weird amalgam of old-school emo and new wave groups, like if Sunny Day Real Estate did Joy Division. But Salfi says the band’s biggest influences are more contemporary: bands like Ovlov, Title Fight, The Spirit of the Beehive, and LVL UP. “The idea of huge fuzzy loud choruses and wet reverby verses, or the combination of both is really [what we wanted],” Salfi says.
Bleary Eyed plays WMUC in College Park with Oso Oso and Prince Daddy & The Hyena on Jan. 25. $5-$10.