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Bad Moves (Record Release Party!)

  September 27, 2024 8:00 PM

ADVANCED: $20.00

ADVANCED Public Onsale: June 26, 2024 10:01 AM to September 28, 2024 12:00 AM

Friday, September 27th 2024
Bad Moves (Record Release Party!)
8:00 - $20 - All Ages

Washington, DC

When people sing together, is it necessarily cathartic? Is catharsis necessarily rejuvenating? And what if the aftermath of catharsis turns out to be the same old frustration? With their third LP, Washington, D.C.’s Bad Moves have expanded their founding artistic identity — a candy-coated guitar-pop shell surrounding a bitter lyrical core — by refracting their ideas through a new set of musical forms that weaponize repetition. On the new Wearing Out the Refrain, recorded once again with producer Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Algernon Cadwallader), Bad Moves propose that the flip side of the delirious harmony of the basement show singalong is the volatile, accusatory antiphony of a community divided by strain, shouting the same desperate hook back and forth at one another.

There is a pervasive perception that in power pop, hooks often come at the expense of lyrical sophistication, even intelligibility — that long vowels and crisp consonants are merely the empty frame on which to hang those euphoric bridges and serotonin-rush outros. But perhaps not since Chumbawamba has a group so effectively combined pop architecture with focused and detailed narratives (“cleaning literal shit from a dive bar toilet,” the band recounts in “New Year’s Reprieve”) of class rage and communal despair. Their collective songwriting allows for a conceptual unity, in which an album about feeling caught in repetitive cycles expresses that theme not just lyrically — as in the recurring imagery of swirling riptides and drain-circling undertows — but sonically, intentionally beating a riff into the ground to make a point. The structure of the New Pornographers-esque “Let The Rats Inherit the Earth” is Sisyphean fatalism defined, stopping and starting over every time the music is about to reach a peak.

Bad Moves’ tag-team vocals, which forgo centering any one member, also let the traditionally confessional “I” become the “we” of a community, or a generation. Witness the ambitious climate change metaphor of “Eviction Party,” which understands the union of sugary pop and genuine angst embodied by 1960s girl-group songcraft, and uses it to expand a personal story to planetary scale. “It’s my eviction, I’ll cry if I want to,” the group shouts at the climax, channeling the dawning millennial midlife crisis. The personal may be political, but what if both feel weighed down and trapped in circular, inescapable ruts? - Franz Nicolay


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