Waters Find Fountain of Youth

The invigorating indie rock of Waters takes us back to our youth

For better or worse, I'm a sucker for nostalgia. When I was in the prime of my adolescence (is there even such a thing?), I had the Smashing Pumpkins' expansive double-album "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" on repeat for months on end. Part of that was due to the fact that I just didn't have money to buy new music all the time -- after all, $5-a-week allowances only went so far when CDs (the media of the future!) usually ran $15 a pop. Don't get me wrong, Mom -- I ain't complaining.

So I may be a tad biased, but when I saw that Waters -- a San Francisco–by-way-of-Norway indie-rock band set to play the Casbah on Jan. 21 -- had thrown up a live rendition of the Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight" on their SoundCloud recently, I was pretty stoked. 

Of course, their version is a much more scaled down affair than the one we're familiar with: Waters frontman Van Pierszalowski somehow mimics Billy Corgan's alien vocal dynamics, but the song's huge orchestra is replaced by a chugging acoustic guitar and whimsical keyboard strings. They made the right call; lyrics like "Time is never time at all/You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth" certainly lend themselves to that kind of hushed intimacy. 

And, for what it's worth, the band's newest EP, "It All Might Be OK," is likewise a slab of youthful, catchy fun. The titles for the record's four songs pretty much sum up my bleeding teenage heart back in the day: "Got to My Head," "I Feel Everything," "Over It" and "Down Together." 

Their breakout lead single, "Got to My Head," was hailed by Stereogum as "a big high five of a song," and they were spot on: It skips along with an innocent exuberance that leads up to big, exalting singalong choruses -- basking in an urgency that, in a nutshell, epitomizes the addictive rush of the EP in its entirety. There's a reason the band has been tapped to tour with Tegan and Sara, Nada Surf, Delta Spirit, Wye Oak and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah -- every song they play is basically an invigorating celebration. 

Word on the street is Waters plan on releasing their sophomore album later this spring -- and if their last EP is any indication, it'll definitely be worth saving up those $5-a-week allowances for.  

Waters headline the Casbah on Jan. 21. Ed Ghost Tucker and Bit Maps open. The show starts at 8:30 p.m., is 21+ and tickets are available online here.

Dustin Lothspeich plays in Old Tiger, Diamond Lakes and Boy King. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.

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