I felt the familiar residue of years of spilled booze pulling at the soles of my boots as I walked through the bar and into the performance space at Brooklyn’s Cameo Gallery. A bouncer stopped me, asking that I pour my Mason jar cocktail into a plastic cup before I approached the stage. Concrete floors and stark black walls gave way to a glimmering, icicle-like chandelier that caught the strobes and sent neon bursts across the room, capturing the crowd’s gaze.
And then suddenly no one was looking at the lights.
The four men—though they’d likely prefer the more casual "guys"—of Such Hounds took the stage and earnestly welcomed the modestly-sized, but still packed room to the show celebrating the release of their new 7" record. Smoke from probably-maybe-legal vaporizers hung in the air and mixed with the first hazy guitar strums, which were all but stifled with rowdy cheers as the crowd recognized the first song of the night.
Comprised of Matt Martin, Sean Kraft, Matt Giordano, and Ross Anderson, Such Hounds is everything you loved about catchy, effusive ‘90s alt rock (think Third Eye Blind), in a package that’s grittier and more haunting all at once. With cigarette-laced and booze-soaked subject matter, some have even compared them to “Tom Petty snorkeling in bong water.” Lyrics that capture life’s mundanities are somehow rendered profound by simple, honest prose wrapped in melodies you’ll inevitably find yourself humming days later.
Lanky, tattooed, and altogether unassuming, Such Hounds would be almost tiresomely “Brooklyn” if they weren’t so compulsively relatable. But before I could even finish my plastic drink, I found myself unintentionally bouncing my head, awkwardly shuffling my feet in time to tracks about drinking too much and catastrophic breakups. For me, this qualifies as dancing. In an unexpected way, and with a slight country twang on vocals that fiercely wail, they’ve found a way to create emotive rock you can mosh to.
Watching them perform is an invitation to forget the pretensions of music altogether. With a fair dash of percussive head banging thrown in for performance value and perhaps genuine enjoyment, it’s clear Such Hounds considers it both a pleasure and privilege to share their intensely personal and at times vulnerable sound with their fans.
When the last electric notes cleared the air, all four greeted a screaming, jumping crowd, but not for long. Ever on the move, they elected to call it an early night—they were filming a documentary in New Paltz, NY the next morning. Despite having a beer or two on stage, the continued revelry was tasked to the crowd instead, who seemed more than up to the challenge. A few more waves and thank yous punctuated their appearance, which left everyone's spirits a little higher, and cups a little emptier.
With promising roots and new record ready for purchase, we can all expect that Such Hounds, like their music, will resolve into a key that’s satisfyingly major.
Check them out on Spotify, and get a copy of Drink to Sleep / Those Lieshere.