Feature: Young Adults (Boston Phoenix, 11.2.10)

Posted on December 20, 2010


Last month, when scraggly local trio Young Adults wandered out on stage at the Middle East downstairs to open for hyped lo-fi darlings Best Coast, college indie brats were already thronging the room. Young Adults are a house-show beast by nature, all fuzzed-out bass and splintered bits of guitar that go well with fire hazards and leaking pipes, and they stood out a bit that night. There was some home-team carry-over in the crowd — a pocket of friends danced amid the more fashionably timid bystanders. But for the most part, the downstairs stage was a brave new world.

One of many for the band, really. After just a few months of playing out in Boston, they had already caught the eye of a group of erratic bloggers from the Czech Republic who wanted to start working with them. Now it’s a few months later, and they’re about to celebrate their first 12-inch, Black Hole, on the brand new Prague-based label AMDISCS. (The release party is this Saturday at Great Scott.) The situation has been a bit hectic, but that’s kind of where they thrive. You could say Young Adults were born out of a junkpile of old bands and haywire Photoshop art — dozens of warped records and mismatched layers covering up some genuine know-how.

“We’re at the point where things start to happen,” says guitarist Chris Villon. He’s sitting across from drummer and younger brother Kurt on a recently craigslisted and generously worn-in couch in the Allston living room of bassist Demitri Swan. “Although I’m not sure anyone even knows what that means anymore.”

The band are stretching out in the room now that the house’s dinner shift has abandoned the TV. (Swan’s place is a glorious three-floor mess packed with housemates and framed clown art.) The living room is crammed with dysfunctional accessories — a refrigerator, a jumbo jug of laundry detergent, piles of coats. Chris sits in the corner with a bowl of ramen and goes over some of the finer details of the business with AMDISCS.

“We just talk over g-chat, basically,” he says. “They pretty much communicate strictly through internet slang, broken English, and dick jokes.” This past summer, the label threw a big festival in the Czech Republic with Vivian Girls, Ecstatic Sunshine, Toro y Moi, and gobs more. “When we finally got the signed contract in the mail, they had drawn a dick in the signature line beside their names.”

Call it progress, anyway — for Kurt, who’d never played in a band before the Adults’ first show last December, but also for Chris and Swan, who’ve spent years cutting their teeth on Boston crowds: Chris with shoegaze underdogs Whitetail, Swan with the breezy Magic Magic and the chaotic Paparazzi.

Young Adults’ music makes interesting use of all that experience. They pummel a couple of ideas and rhythms into an overgrown din that almost changes genres depending on how loud you’re listening — maybe spacy psych-rock, maybe off-the-tracks punk. Live, you’ve got no choice — it’s monstrous. The shout-along dual vocals, funneling out of some long-lost Fugazi practice, barely make it out over the rest of the noise.

“One day last year, we saw that band from Providence, the Body,” says Swan. “This band is so goddamn fucking loud that you feel the music in your chest. I saw that and said I really want to start a band that has these punk elements and also has this wall-of-sound kind of feel to it, where you feel just almost overtaken by the sound.”

Chris puts it another way: “We wanted to sound like Lightning Bolt and the Ramones.”

The genre fuckery allows match-ups with bands like Best Coast and Wavves — whom they played with at Great Scott earlier this year — to make sense.

“On so many levels, this stuff just seems so naive,” says Chris. “With Wavves, it seems like he’s just this skate-punk kid; but on another level, you know this guy gets it.” The same goes for Young Adults — beneath the junkpile, there’s a part of them that knows exactly what they’re doing. Adds Swan: “You know the guy from Wavves knows what’s up because he ripped off a Wipers design for his T-shirt.”

Original article at the Boston Phoenix here.