Fashion Week – Prêt-à-Porter (Solar Flare Records, 23 February 2015)
New York Fashion Week, or — excuse me — New York-based band Fashion Week, have been around for some number of years, with some quantity of recordings released during that time. I’ve heard rumors about them forming sometime around 2009, and also that this album from early 2015 was their debut full-length, but I can’t really say for sure since their official biography (on Facebook and elsewhere) is more of a tongue-in-cheek retelling of the Nirvana story with only oblique references to any actual members of Fashion Week.
Be that as it may, I guess it doesn’t really matter how much background information you do or don’t know, as long as the music’s good, right? These guys are on the road with Unsane at the moment (the tour actually started last weekend, sorry about the late notice!) and it’s pretty likely that anyone heading out to see the headliner will go back home as a fan of the supporting act as well. Keep on reading to find out a bit more about Prêt-à-Porter (the album, not the movie), and check out the list of tour dates down in the comments.
A cursory listen will quickly reveal that this band’s bread and butter is a blend of noise rock, grunge, and NYHC, in no particular order. Here you’ll probably find more noise and feedback than actual notes in the guitar part, plenty of ill-sounding dissonant chords, and a greasy, grimy bass tone from start to finish. The record begins and ends with your hardcore/noiserock fundamentals: opening track “Fendi Bender” alternates quasi-melodic, mostly-emotionless singing with tortured screaming on the choruses (although moving into the second song “Chorusace” it’s almost all shrieked vocals); similarly the final song “Haute Topic” (again filled with feedback and grungy sounds) pairs singing with shrieking, but singing here is even almost poppy.
Somewhere in between, though, things get a little more interesting. “Summer Line” keeps with the grunge-plus-NYHC theme, starting off with kind of Pixies– or Sonic Youth-inspired guitars, dissonance and noise, some quieter and more harmonious bits then straight back to screaming and distortion and feedback, and then transitions into jerky Helmet-type rhythms by the end. But speaking of unusual rhythms, “Fur Free Friday” is built around a jaunty (for lack of a better word) guitar figure that wouldn’t have sounded out of place played on a fiddle at a hoe-down. And then “Klosstrophobia” has, as its foundation, a piano part that could easily have been part of a track on OK Computer.
The peculiarly-named penultimate “”FASHION”=~S/(\$)/COLLAPSE/GSO;” really steps outside the box, but perhaps ties into the band’s name most closely: this bizarre sonic collage contrasts what sounds like an inane Youtube video where a girl talks about clothes in one ear, against excerpts from news reports outlining the darker side of the fashion industry in the other.
You should be able to grab a copy directly from the band if you’re lucky enough for this tour to be coming to your city. But if not, Prêt-à-Porter is available in all formats right here.
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