While on tour in 2018, I played a show in a dusty Philadelphia warehouse with locals They Are Gutting a Body of Water, a ragtag four-piece of young shoegaze revivalists. They really connected with me: they looked awkward and out of place, and they played beat-up old gear, but they put so much heart and beauty into the layers of their sad but massive hooks that I immediately bought their first tape, Gestures Been, and still listen to it regularly today. TAGABOW continue to play loud, heavy shoegaze, but over the past few years they’ve also toyed with more experimental sounds and flourishes. On their brand-new Lucky Styles (Smoking Room), they smash their influences and interests together to create a weird, fun record that doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard a shoegaze band do before. The album crashes lush Loveless worship into oscillating samplers, spaced-out synths, and crispy trip-hop. Its second track, “Kmart Amen Break,” starts out fuzzy and dreamy before breaking into an alien-sounding pitch-shifted vocal bridge, while “Behind the Waterfall” could be a rock band playing the score to a Zelda game. Best of all, even when They Are Gutting a Body of Water throw a curveball, it isn’t at the expense of the kind of stuff that hooked me back in the day: catchy, heavy nugs of forlorn rock for the weirdos.
They Are Gutting a Body of Water Modern Color headline; They Are Gutting a Body of Water, Soft Blue Shimmer, and Mofie open. Fri 11/25, 8 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, $17, 17+