Blouse is the kind of Portlandia parody dream: a three-piece out of Portland that recorded songs in a warehouse that are easily categorized as dream pop, getting picked up by Brooklyn's Capture Tracks after posting just two demos on Bandcamp, followed by Sub Pop's release of the imminent hit single, and so it goes. It's sort of the perfect picture of what's happening in music today. It's something both exciting and terrifying -- the ease of accessibility, the deified '80s New Wave making it's comeback, and the American pockets of Portland, Brooklyn and Echo Park where it all emerges from.
I'm not knocking Blouse -- who will be at Soda Bar on Friday -- mainly because I really think their songs are catchy. There's always this fascination with the past and future, best demonstrated in their track "Time Travel," which is about the dangers of living in the past -- which sounds like an ironic nod to their own aesthetic. The band explains that there is something safe about that sound of synthesizers and heavy bass, and I think that's interesting: that a sound is safe and that's why it's so emulated. The same could be argued about the infectious sound of pop music that will never stray too far from our collective conscious. Blouse carry it down all the way to the soft pink hue of the album artwork, with a delicate arm collapsed into sheets; there's something submissive happening.
The band, made of up Charlie Hilton, Patrick Adams and Jacob Portrait (of Unknown Mortal Orchestra) play up that femininity, with Hilton's echo-y vocals that at times feel like a whisper. The dynamic features pretty vocals carried by strong bass tones, creating a creepy effect. It'll be interesting to see the evolution of this band or the strength of the genre's comeback in general.
Catch them at Soda Bar with Tearist, Divers and DJ Marlo Orduno.