Standout Track: No. 1, “Two,” a brainy emo-pop anthem from the College Park band’s new Dogswim EP. With its skittering guitar lines and pummeling, freight-train drums, “Two” could easily be a long-lost Joan of Arc outtake. “In that fugue state/ Not quite awake,” sings guitarist Trevor Nierendorf, 22, lost in his own thoughts and unsure of where he wants to go. But even as the song seems to search for linearity via frequent shifts in dynamics and time signatures, it’s clear Aphids are in control.
Musical Motivation: Mired in a songwriting funk, Nierendorf penned the lyrics to “Two” by taking inspiration from one of his favorite TV shows at the time: Breaking Bad. “The song name ‘Two’ revolves around the two cell phones that Walt has,” he says.
College Calculus: The musical tastes among Aphids’ members—the band includes Nierendorf’s fellow University of Maryland students Robby Bowen, 21, on drums, John Stackpole, 21, on bass, and Thomas Lardner, 21, on the trumpet and keyboards (guitarist Nick Calvitt, 22, goes to school in West Virginia)—are diverse and distinct for each person. For instance, Nierendorf, who grew up a drummer, loves the complexities of math rock, which shines through on “Two.” “I was really into weird drum parts and confusing things that I didn’t quite understand but I would try and figure out,” he says. “And then I realized that there’s a whole genre of this stuff that I’ll never be able to play but is super interesting to listen to.”