There's that common image of the bro with his off-brand acoustic guitar sitting on the quad of some college campus strumming that to-remain-unnamed Oasis song into oblivion, all in a sad attempt to “woo” some girl in his Sociology 105 class. Fortunately, colleges near and far are providing music fans with much more than the Quad Singer; more and more artists in college are putting out music that displays a shockingly mature and meticulously crafted sound (see: Frankie Cosmos, Alex G, among others).
Here's where What Moon Things come in. Formed in 2012 in a basement in New Paltz, NY, the trio cultivated their massive, gleaming sound while they were busy being college students. And if their first single “The Astronaut” is any indication, What Moon Things is certainly a band beyond its years. The song opens with new wave guitar, distorted bass, and a wonderfully hi-fi take on the huge 80s drum sound. Lead singers Jake Harms (yes, there are vocal harmonies in this song) and John Morisi offer an impassioned vocal performance, singing bleak lines like: “I’m the Cold War/To your dark arts.” Despite the dark subject matter, “Astronaut” is like a glint of light in a pitch-black cave, a ray of beauty in melancholy.
Taking cues from bands like the Cure, My Bloody Valentine and The Pixies, What Moon Things have created a sound on their upcoming eponymous LP that is simultaneously an amalgam of and deviance from those influences. That sound is reflected in the crystal clear production of record, even though the album was recorded in Morisi’s New Paltz apartment.
“The Astronaut” is a standout on the record, a song so mature that it’s easy to forget these guys are still in college. It’s just hard to imagine where What Moon Things will be post-graduation, since they’re already bursting through the gates into the musical ether.
What Moon Things is set for release on June 3 as the inaugural release of Athens, GA label Hot Grits Records. Stream “The Astronaut” below.