On August 19th Brooklyn’s Amelia Hazen will be releasing her latest project, Trash Moth, an album she describes as “garbage indie power pop.” It’s been a labor of love as she’s written, composed, recorded and mixed it herself in true DIY fashion.
For the album release, Hazen asked friends from various bands around the country to join her at Purgatory and they all wound up playing to a packed house. It was important for her to have a like-minded group of people who she says are some of the hardest working musicians and beautiful lyricists she’s had the pleasure to meet. And while it was an eclectic mix of styles, there was definitely a guitar driven thread that ran through the show.
First up was The Dearlys from Chicago who kicked the night off with a fun set. Upbeat alt rock ‘n pop vibes as demonstrated by their recent single and video for “Bender” which musically makes me think of The Cure’s Robert Smith when he says it’s Friday and he’s in love. And while the band members—Will Mackie Jenkins (guitar/vocals), Jordan Dismuke (bass/vocals) Mason McIntire (drums) and Ben Kissinger (keys)—are clearly having a good time, they also let their inner rockstar out when they hit the stage.
Next up was FLKL from Richmond, VA whose self-described style is as a “folk punk glory band bringing you sweet ass harmonies.” And they did just that— hit you upside the head with a guitar solo and an aggressive beat, only to soothe you with beautiful four-part harmonies. Like someone asked Crosby, Stills & Nash to play CBGB’s and they nailed it. And one of the most interesting instruments I’ve seen lately was their modified banjo which had me looking for who was shredding a couple of times.
Following FLKL was one of NYC’s own, The Grasping Straws fronted by Mallory Feuer. Raw, emotional, lo-fo art rock that really drew the crowd in. And with wide ranging dynamics, Feuer could be soft and subdued one minute and then release an angst ridden banshee wail the next. Instrument wise she’s as eclectic as the sound, playing guitar, violin and keyboard at various points.
Last but not least as they say was Hazen who came out with a smile a mile wide. She was clearly happy with a great night up to that point but also excited to let Trash Moth fly. She’s been on the scene since 2013, writing and recording, but like everyone else saw the rug pulled out from under her in early 2020. And also like everyone else, she felt the isolation and frustration of not seeing friends let alone seeing and hearing live music. With Trash Moth she was able to capture those feelings and in a purposely heavier way than she had before with a nod to 90’s indie rock and grunge. She attacks her guitar when she plays, like she’s exorcizing her demons and yet is soft spoken and funny with her between song stories. With this project Hazen was able to prove to herself that she could rise above the fray to write and record an album that really encapsulates who she is as an artist and maybe more importantly as a person in 2022.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kevin McGann)
THE GRASPING STRAWS