If you’re a dedicated visitor of spots like Shea Stadium and Alphaville, you’ve inevitably seen or heard Sexy Neighbors. Going on seven years of recording together as a psychedelic post-punk do-whatever-we-want garage band, the odds that they’ve caught your attention are on their side, even if they’ve dwelled comfortably underground.
Adding up all the circumstances that can pull a band apart, and then magnifying that number by a whole lot (because New York City ain’t easy on artists these days, let’s be real), in relationship years, Sexy Neighbors are way past the love-dog mile marker, far beyond spooning-in-childhood-bed and the point of recounting pre-pubescent memories in aforementioned bed (e.g., recalling that time your mom left you at the mall and said she might not ever come back). All of which is to say, Sexy Neighbors are like three peas in a way-too-tiny, probably overpriced Bushwick pod, which translates as tightly rendered, on-point rock– pretty unusual, for what is, at heart, a punk band.
Now, with their fifth EP called LIHC on the way from a wee, cassette-tape-lovin’ local label, Kings Highway Records, Sexy Neighbors are about to pass another milestone. We’re premiering the first single, “Livin’ Wavy'” right here, right now.
Thankfully, unlike every couple you know, Sexy Neighbors have managed to avoid the inevitable downward spiral toward a slightly overweight, baby talkin’, comfort zone. Quite the opposite has happened, actually– the band has continued to evolve, defying the rock-n’-roll destiny, an inexorable slippage toward easier sounds and more approachable formats. From their jangly garage beginnings to a lush psychedelia cut with a heart-out, Television-style punk sound, they’ve now reached a no-romance, change-time post-punk weirdness– perfect for our uncertain, anxiety-inducing present.
It’s telling that Sexy Neighbors have tagged the new single “postgrunge”– if you think about it, that’s really where we’re at these days. Grunge music, which was sort of a joke to begin with, became a manufactured subculture that perfectly captures American consumerism’s painfully lame attempt at authenticity (see: hipsters); it was at the height of its popularity in the Bush Sr.-Clinton years.
Our twisted reality is a funhouse-mirror version of that era: after the defeat of the Clinton dynasty, the specters of Bush Jr. and 9/11 are returning to haunt us, albeit in mutated form. In many ways, Sexy Neighbors are the negation of grunge– their upbeat take on post-punk darkness, a sort of ironic way to embrace that mood that’s heard more often in places like Detroit (see bands like Tyvek), pokes fun at the hackneyed earnestness wrought by grunge.
It’s sort of a wonder why Sexy Neighbors haven’t blown up, but that’s sort of the whole point if they’re being serious about this post-grunge thing, right? Their 2013 EP I Love My New Attitude (see “Fullsonics”)–a punk take on psychedelia– will absolutely not leave you. It has the classic stick of 13th Floor Elevators, organs and all, combined with The Fall at their must undone. But at four tracks, it’s indicative of the band’s aggressively lo-fi-don’t-care attitude.
Likewise, their new EP, LIHC, was built for slapdash tapes, 7″ records and singles, otherwise known as the kind of punk that, actually, never went anywhere.