Whether they’re recording in the studio, performing in a packed club, or playing impromptu pop-up shows at SXSW, Atlanta trio CHEW never fail to go all out. Their music — or at least what little we’ve heard to date — is marked by a boundless energy and an aggressive willingness to both genre jump and experiment with timing, pacing, and rhythm. It’s not often I prefer bands to forgo vocals and remain purely instrumental, but CHEW are a rare exception.
This morning we’re excited to premiere a pair of tracks that highlight CHEW’s range and rhythmic ingenuity. Recorded at Head Space Sound in Atlanta by Michael J. Mosca, each of the songs will appear on the group’s upcoming 3D EP, which the band plans to unveil digitally next month before releasing physical copies in May. Of the two cuts, “Soap” is the more conventional and straightforward, avoiding any wild zigzags in favor of riding out a stumble-funk groove that sounds like a poppier, less abstract Battles.
Meanwhile, “23” is a more audacious prog rock burner that speeds along at a brisk clip before breaking into an off-kilter half-time stomp. Sarah “Snare-uh” Wilson (DAMS) leads the way here, her propulsive drumming driving the song relentlessly forward while Brett Reagan (guitar/electronics) and bassist Brandon T. Pittman (Swank Sinatra) alternate between elegantly textured jazz-rock and quirky staccato keys that carry an almost experimental post-hardcore feel. The song’s dynamic rush is both artful and exhilarating like riding a high-speed train through the open countryside and watching the trees and foliage blur into an expressionist landscape. There’s been a lot of music made between these three scene vets, but of all their combined projects, this is probably my favorite yet.
Give a listen to “Soap” and “23” below.
CHEW will perform tomorrow night, March 25, at the Sewing Room. Supporting them will be Future Primitives, Weary Heads, and Air Wolves. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $5.