Erik made the trip from Rhode Island yesterday so we could see a rare gig by the Cincinnati-based band Wussy, who we’ve mentioned before. In 2005, they released Funeral Dress, one of my very favorite albums of the last decade, and they’ve followed that up with 3 more regular releases and multiple collectibles of similar quality with a new record (which they’re making available in advance at the concerts) pending. Our Ohio-based colleague djw assured us that their live act lived up to the records and how, so I’ve been excited about the gig for a while. And while I’m sure Erik will weigh in himself, I’m confident he’ll say that it was more than worth the 3 hour drive — seeing a band of this quality in a tiny club was mind-blowingly good. I don’t have the chops to adequately describe their sound. Based around the first-rate songs and weaving guitars of co-founders Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker, they bring to invoke antecedents like the Velvets, late-60s Stones and Television while being too unique to really sound like any of them. They also have a fiercely good rhythm section, and particularly considering it was only their third or fourth gig of the tour they were remarkably tight. It’s easy to see why the recordings are of such high quality given their palpable attention to their craft; they’re a flat-out great band.
While it’s a terrific opportunity, as most coverage of the band makes clear they also merit a much bigger venue, and I’ve never been one to want to keep an unknown excellent band to myself. For one thing, I want them to be able to make a decent living. They’re on a tiny label and a search reveals that they still have yet to get a single mention from from our deeply fallible gatekeepers at Pitchfork. This tour is definitely not a pampered rock star operation. (I felt guilty asking Walker to sign my CD because she was busy dismantling the guitar switches, but she did so graciously, and they immediately sought out Cleaver before I could even ask.) I hope that the new record finally gives them some fraction of the attention they merit, but in the meantime readers in Burlington, New York, Philly and Baltimore have the chance to see something really special in the next week. If you think you might like it, check ’em out.