What the fuck happened to rock?
Not long ago you’d go to a festival to watch screechy guitars, boom drums, plucked basses, and some version of voice. The one rapper, DJ, plunderphonician, fiddler, yodeller, field musician, or whatever-the-fucker-naut would be given a rickety old stand next to the porta potties. People would stare, as they waited in line to take a piss, as some freak show harped a tune and they would say, “what the fuck is this shit?” Now of days, if you’re at a festival and happen to have a strong case of the runs after rums, rye-aria, or the barley scoots, it’s the rock band you’ll be passing on the way to those portable blue beauties. You might even hear three kids standing on top of one another in a trench coat, trying to pose as a full grown adult, scream out, “My mom and dad love this stuff!”
Don’t worry, Neil Young will always be right. “Rock and Roll will never die” but it may say obnoxiously racist shit and piss into a colostomy bag every once in a while. Music changes and transforms. It adapts with time, age, culture, science, politics, style, race, gender, countries, and planets. And in a time where rock music is at the back of the bus, it’s interesting to take a peek to see what the fuck is happening, especially when the rock-lite duet is made of two classically trained pianists.
Superteam Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart make up the band Ohmme. They’ve worked with Jeff Tweedy, Chance the Rapper, and Doug McCombs from Tortoise (an alt-country superstar, a rapper, and one of the most famous in experimental post-rock for the last 20 years). Within their music comes the honest cry of ’90s rock. That desperate, mellow, and hurt tone that’s disappointed with how the world has turned out. The first song calls out “I want a new icon” over and over again. But they aren’t whiny about this shit. They sing the lines as if they were skipping down the streets of Paris for the first time in summer dresses and suddenly saw a homeless man vomit into a paper cup. It’s disheartening. You didn’t want to see that shit happen, though part of you expected it in some way. But it sure as fuck also won’t ruin the rest of the day. The drums track on the chorus of “Water” has a similar catchiness to “What’d I say” as the guitars pipe out the dirty sounds similar to Death From Above. Sima and Macie sing with a folk sensibility. And it’s truly fucking obvious when you listen to this shit that they carefully craft each track they make. You may not see Ohmme on the main stage anytime soon. You might only hear them in some small venue or while holding your ass cheeks closed as you run through a festival. But, give it a couple years, and motherfuckers like Sima and Macie will be driving the goddamn bus.