My gangsta rap-loving yogi wife and I usually have little common ground when it comes to music (80’s new wave, Royksopp, the Book of Mormon cast recording). Usually when I listen to new bands for POPDOSE she says, “Turn that shit down.” A month ago, when the first track from Asian She’s self-titled debut EP came on, she said, “turn that shit up.”
Asian She isn’t a new K-pop girl group or lolita/ninja costumed Japanese rock band. It’s a duo of dudes from Los Angeles. Noah Lebenzon and Thomas Froggatt met in Lawrence, Kansas back in the late 90’s and waited until now to kick out some killer jams. Lebenzon (who spent some time playing guitar in a Hedwig & The Angry Inch production) and Froggatt have created a dark, moody, quintet of songs that wanders around the back lots of Jesus and Mary Chain, Joy Division, Enon, MGMT and Beck without ever trespassing.
Asian She – Horrific Nightmare is getting the most blog buzz at the moment and for good reason. It sets off with a cool keyboard/bass/drum groove (Dave Krusen sits in on live drums – suck on that GarageBand) and an instant deadpan ear worm chorus:
I fell in love from the start / and then you went and broke my heart / I thought I’d be OK / You never loved me anyway
Just when you think it can’t get better, a soaring guitar line (around 2:40) truly lifts this song into greatness. Last year saw left-field pop hits from Gotye, fun. and Foster the People — this track has a solid shot for the same path in 2013.
The rest of Asian She’s 5-track EP delivers on the early promise set by Nightmare. Likely second single, “6:17,” is a sinister, trippy, epic, psychedelic dark wave jam, one that sounds crisp and fantastic on headphones. “I Wanna Get in a Fight Tonight” is the sadistic post punk dance floor filler that She Wants Revenge always wanted to make. — update: I find out only after publishing this story that Froggatt played guitar in She Wants Revenge.
What’s next for these two? Who the hell knows. But hopefully we won’t have to wait until 2027 to hear it.
Images courtesy of Peter Livolsi.