Home > Arts/Culture/Entertainment > They Are Gutting a Body of Water make a case for wackier shoegaze

They Are Gutting a Body of Water make a case for wackier shoegaze

Philadelphia band They Are Gutting a Body of Water toy with shoegaze like Van Leeuwen screws around with ice cream—their delightfully askew music draws me in, though, while Van Leeuwen’s Hidden Valley Ranch flavor repels me. TAGABOW have made a lot of creative choices that depart from shoegaze’s traditional wall-of-sound warmth. They’ve collaborated with Chicago breakcore heartthrob Casper McFadden on the frenetic, throbbing “Menthol Box,” from the 2021 EP EPCOT. They’ve incorporated samples and electronic percussion, such as the stuttering harp and reggaeton-inspired riddim on Destiny XL track “ES Beautyhand.” And on the title track of last year’s self-released Lucky Styles (uploaded to streaming services as S, in a mistake they turned into an inside joke), the band foreground a whimsical steam-whistle melody that could score an aquatic level on Super Mario 64

TAGABOW’s musical weirdness is less surprising when you consider their hometown. The Philly scene has developed a reputation for (or at least an acceptance of) indie rockers with mischievous experimental streaks. “It’s always been wacky here,” front man Douglas Dulgarian recently told the Pittsburgh City Paper. “Like, motherfuckers are using children’s keyboards on every song. You know, Alex G set the tone with pitch-shifting his voice and now he’s on the auto-tune wave. There are things here that aren’t happening elsewhere.” Everybody should encourage more wackiness in their own scenes, especially if it leads to more of the loose, uninhibited creativity that makes Lucky Styles so charming and confounding.

They Are Gutting a Body of Water Knifeplay, Old Coke, and Illusion of Choice open. Thu 3/23, 8 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, $15, 17+

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