PLAYING DETROIT: Tart Returns as a Trio on New EP Toothache

Sweet, sour and glittering with adrenaline (appropriately named) transcendent Detroit trio Tart have made a reputation for themselves by deconstructing new wave and electroclash to spawn their genre-defying sound. Together, vocalist Zee Bricker, guitarist Adam Michael Lee Padden and drummer Donny Blum form a vibrantly expressive shred-pop outfit who approach each song as a fresh start.

Formed formally in 2014, best friends turned roommates turned sonic architects Bricker and Padden ventured to create a sound that fused the intricacies of their contrasting musical backgrounds: Bricker’s disciplined theatre education and Padden’s untamed, collaborative rock and roll fire. While the then duo explored the marriage of Bricker’s haunting vocal prowess and piercing lyrics with Padden’s intuitive and calculated guitar treatment, it was their inanimate third member, the drum machine, that filled a percussive void yet also strained Tart’s potential.

Blum (who also drums in The Von Bondies) helped them achieve it fully when he began playing with Tart for their live performances in 2016. Both Bricker and Padden discovered a raw beginning within the preexisting framework, Blum being the missing ingredient. It is Blum’s primal endurance and virtuosic stylings that helped birth a new, energized Tart with the same name, but an entirely realized vision.

Earlier this month, Tart saw the release of their third (and in many ways their first) EP Toothache, a well-rounded, eruptive 4-track collection that defines the band’s ardent past and shimmering future with a fully formed ferocity. “Metal Eyes” (which Bricker jokes is their one true “pop song”) feels more Dandy Warhols than glittering excess whereas Toothache is a riotous Tank Girl worthy banger. Pared down from six tracks, Toothache finds a polished momentum that embody what Tart has come to do best: sincere and sinister tornadic shred-pop with a well-roundedness that feels radio ready.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth and a bad attitude check out Tart’s latest below:



Dreamy Detroit indie rock foursome FAWNN premiered their first single off of their anticipated forthcoming sophomore album Ultimate Oceans on Stereogum last week. An iridescent pop track reminiscent of Washed Out meets a sedated The New Pornographers,”Galaxies” is familiar and satisfying yet feels defeated. “Galaxies” is prom night for mid to late twenty-somethings who sway in misguided unison to the shared disenchantment of young love turned static: the death of the honeymoon phase. Listless imagery painting spacial comparisons between intimacy and celestial phenomena is nothing new, and FAWNN struggles to breathe sincerity into this very evocation. What “Galaxies” DOES provide, however, is the aural equivalent to the ambivalence of drinking overly spiked punch, texting your ex a sad version of “hey” and half-heartedly hoping you don’t end up going home alone. The bass line is lulling and instinctual and when paired with the droll delicacies of the vocal harmonies, “Galaxies” creates more distance than it fills. This is likely an intentional sensation as the stand out lyric “Now that we’re allowed to touch/it’s over/Galaxies inside” encapsulates simply the boredom and painful loss of fascination when a love/like has run its respective course. Maybe that’s what makes “Galaxies” a frustrating listen. Maybe it yanks on that dark inner mess that we have been meaning to clean up but just haven’t made time for. It’s a song about passionate indifference and although successful in its glittery tones and thoughtful production, it is almost too literal in its heartbroken lethargy to feel anything more than “meh.”

Space out with the first taste from FAWNN’s latest “Galaxies” below:

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