Soda, “Blonde on Blonde”

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Another addition to Florida’s shadow pantheon of post-millenial rock.

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Sam Lefebvre | December 28, 2015

Soda-blonde-on-blonde

Directly and spiritually descended from a recent lineage of Florida outfits such as Neon Blood, American Snakeskin, and St. Dad, the new Gainesville trio Soda are slated to release Without a Head, their debut 12-inch, on January 15 via Dull Tools, the label helmed by Parquet Courts‘ Andrew Savage. And today, they’ve shared “Blonde on Blonde” with Impose.

Possessed by a kind of quiet mania, a firm backbeat cradles darkly entwined acoustic and electric guitars while co-vocalists Arlington Garrett and Lara Lookabaugh harmonize and then coarsely collide in the foreground. At first, Garrett shiftily murmurs behind Lookabaugh’s breathy verses, but the cyclical refrain grows cataclysmic—a shuddering, sputtering rage against the outset’s chilled order. Much of Without a Head carries on like that, its songs intimating menace and then enacting it with inventive structures and inflamed, cracked vocal performances alike.

Over email, Lookabaugh explained that she and drummer Meredith Kite—who also cohost the radio show “Female Trouble”, discussed in this She/Folk interview—were initially inspired by Beat Happening. “I was really set on having some weird, tall freaky dude who could be like Calvin Johnson,” she recalled. “So we asked Arlington.”

Garrett, rebounding from American Snakeskin—whose 2012 12-inch, Turquoise for Hello, joins titles by Diet Cokeheads and Neon Blood in the shadow pantheon of post-millenial Florida rock—recalled that he was interested in pursuing “something louder or harsher.” Not quite the imagined Calvin Johnson, the trio nevertheless found one another compatible, Garrett said. “It seemed like they were more where I wanted to be.”

“All of us like punk and have been in more straightforward punk bands in the past,” Kite added. “But we also all really like noisy rock ‘n roll. That common ground was the basis for the sound and aesthetic we developed.”

The band name Soda arose from a “sort of disdain for names,” they explained. “Arlington was looking at a fest bill thinking about band names. All these bands had really serious and terrible names…[We] all liked the idea of something totally mundane and unpretentious, and somehow Soda came out of that. We easily could have named the band ‘chair.'”

The cover art for Without a Head, meanwhile, is from a series of trash bag drawings by a friend of the band, Conor Williams. Below, stream “Blonde on Blonde” and scan Soda’s 2016 tour dates.

January

21 Nowhere, Gainsville, FL
22 Ask A Punk, Savannah, GA
23 Scrap Iron, Wilmington, NC
24 Unicorn Retirement Garden, Richmond, VA
25 Holy Frijoles, Baltimore, MD
26 Ask A Punk, Philadelphia, PA
27 Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY
28 Alphaville, Brooklyn, NY
29 Songbyrd, Washington DC
30 TBA, Ashville, NC
31 TBA, Nashville, TN

February

01 Foam, St. Louis, MO
02 The Snake Tank, Kansas City, MO
03 Ask A Punk, Oklahoma City, OK
04 TBA, Denton, TX
05 Hotel Vegas, Austin, TX
06 TBA, Houston, TX
07 TBA, New Orleans, LA
08 TBA, Tallahassee, FL

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