Tues Nov 5
Disjecta"Hardcore is really in the eye of the beholder," observes Mark Rentfrow. Mark should know what he's talking about; his band with Mikey McKennedy, Headphone, drops a big old bomb of hardcore through non-traditionally hardcore instruments: Korg, Moog, drum machine. The Olympia duo, which rose from the ashes of Necktie Party, screams mad calls to dance that shit off, over booty-shaking beats and aggressive, distorted melodies. Their music is hot and it is rhythmic and totally hardcore (except not really hardcore). Also, at points, their keyboards riff on the doom-y melodies commonly heard in black metal!
Of their unique sound, Mikey explains, "We knew we didn't want to be a screamo-noise-synth band. Not that there's anything wrong with that; we just felt like that category has been pretty much covered... With Headphone where we're trying to mix new wave with certain metal and rock elements. Who knows if it's working."
From the standpoint of a lady who loves to shake her ass AND get freaky on the aggressive rock shit, I can say that it's working! Their face-punchin' hardcore beat-fest is a quirky yet smoothly successful blend of differing musical ideas. It helps, too, that the boys themselves are fans of dancing; Mark's motto is "Dance all night, every night! Period." And Mikey admits that while it's tough for him to rev his trunk unless he's drunk, he "believes in the power of dancing your ass off."
In addition to their anthemic screams, the boys in Headphone are also gearheads. Mikey, for instance, has some crazy wiring going on inside his amp that allows his keyboards to sound both bass-heavy and fuzzed-out. The band, who just finished recording their first cassette with Justin Trosper, wants to use this technical know-how to push their music in constantly surprising directions. Mikey says, "We wanted Headphone to have this very classic 'badass' feel to it, [by] using '60s radical rhetoric and employing tambourines and handclaps and all that, but to an electronic drum beat and synthesizers. Headphone is gonna get even crazier with electronica when we get back from tour. Our mission is to write crazy, fucked-up dance music, and to do that, we need to have more movement in some of our songs. So we're going to start mixing all of our keyboard and drum machine parts down to mini-disc, then playing that through our amps and playing live drums and bass guitar over all that. It'll be fun!"