When I think of the Northeast, I think of bands like Dinosaur Jr. and The Pixies – bands that are noisy, catastrophic, and loud as hell. It’s incredible how these bands manage to find a balance between dissonance and melody. And Boston’s Leopard Print Taser (LPT from now on) is no exception. Their new 7”, Teeth Are Not Bones, takes its rightful place in a long line of exceptional Northeast indie rock.
When I saw LPT in early November, I couldn’t help but think it was a cross between the noisiness of Sonic Youth and the melodic riffs of Thin Lizzy. I bought the 7” at the show (which has some of the coolest artwork I have seen), and realized that this live spirit was captured in their recordings. I love when a band is able to translate their live sound into a digital (or analog) recording realm.
The EP’s opener “Close Enough” takes an indie pop chord progression and twists it into something haunting. Vocalist Leila Bower introduces us to her enigmatic vocal delivery. At times, her voice sounds like a sneer. Other times, it’s a Malkmus-esque mumble. Halfway through the song, it moves to a slow, plodding instrumental section. Bassist Shannon Donahue provides a subtle, yet forceful bassline during this slower section, letting us know that the song is moving towards a climax. The song builds momentum into a fuzzier, louder chorus. The ending is truly anthemic, and leaves us wanting more from LPT. Luckily, there are still three more songs.
Track two, “Things You Do,” is propelled forward by drummer Reid Calkin’s relentless pounding. It’s an upbeat banger, certified to have you dancing or at the very least bobbing your head up and down. During the “chorus,” guitarist Nicholas Wolf proves his penchant for writing catchy, hooky guitar leads. The guitar work is all in service of the song. There’s nothing too flashy, but what we hear is jagged and interesting. “Things You Do” is catchy, energetic power pop. It’s the brightest sounding song on the EP, and provides us some momentary relief before the noisier, harsher songs that make up the second half.
“Pushed” is an absolute masterpiece of songwriting. Taking the loud-quiet-loud formula of The Pixies, the members of LPT have created a song with soft, haunting verses and vicious, angry choruses. The verses almost sound reminiscent of the Foo Fighters’ “Big Me,” while the choruses seethe with energy like a b-side from an early Sonic Youth album. If you listen to no other song from this EP, be sure to check out “Pushed.” It shows that LPT is capable of writing songs that are transcendent, brutal, and honest.
“Picnic,” the final song, starts off with some ambient guitar noise before launching into another harsh, riffy number. Donahue holds down the groove on the bass while the guitar, drums, and vocals spiral out of control. While everything else in the song could fall apart at any moment, Donahue’s persistent bass lines keep the song moving forward. It’s a marvel when a band works this well together, and can make something more than the sum of their parts.