I attended fifty-three shows this year. That’s a lot for someone who generally prefers to spend his evenings watching old sitcoms with a cat in his lap. While I don’t necessarily remember all of them (no thanks to the beer bust at White Horse or El Rio’s dollar beer night), one band seems to keep reappearing in my internal highlight reel, The World.
The World’s deconstructive take on pop music, complete with dual saxophone stabs, jarring rhythms, and textural guitar work has them sounding right at home on a compilation highlighting the no wave movement of late seventies NYC. However, unlike so many other post-punk revivalists, The World are able to establish their relevance with blunt lyrical prowess. As Amber Sermeno’s withdrawn vocal echoes, “kill your landlord,” the uncomfortably crowded room of half drunk twenty-somethings inch closer to the stage. When the song breaks, not one member of the audience is standing arms folded or glaring into their smartphone. Instead, they are anxiously anticipating the group’s next move. A series of nonverbal communications between guitarist Andy Human and saxophonists Alexa Pantalone and Stanley Martinez unfold before drummer Elyse Schrock’s four count reverberates through her vocal mic. The band dives head first into “Managerial Material,” the closest thing to a “hit” a four-month-old band with a couple demos on their blog can have. The room is cast with smiles.
I’d hate to be a jinx, so I’ll keep my predictions to myself, but it is hard to contain my excitement for The World. Rarely does a band suddenly appear this fully realized with a sound seemingly familiar, yet completely their own. I look forward to a proper release in 2016, so that I can stay home and share this excitement with the aforementioned cat.
Rob I. Miller is the vocalist and guitar player in Mall Walk. In 2014, he founded Vacant Stare Records, a micro-label specializing in debut releases from Oakland-based artists. Though, you probably know him best as the guy who has sold you guitar strings at the Starving Musician in Berkeley.