Small Black Casts a Haze Over Republic NOLA

15:23 November 07, 2016
By: Finn Turnbull

Around since 2009 and based out of Brooklyn, New York, Small Black is an indie/synthpop four-piece with four acclaimed releases. The group first made their mark with a self-titled EP in 2009, following up with a full-length debut, New Chains, in 2010. They have collaborated with other groups in the indie genre such as Wild Nothing, Washed Out, and Vampire Weekend.  Small Black is most commonly described as part of the chillwave genre, which emphasizes heavy synth-driven tracks, spacey vocals laced with reverb and delay, accompanied by steady backbeats. However, since New Chains, the band has made an effort to distance themselves from this category by utilizing more live instrumentation and more frequently choosing clarity over lo-fi effects. Their sound is now closer to indie rock with dreamy overtones and consistent dance beats.

The group came to Republic NOLA on tour with Wild Nothing. Though they haven’t had a new record since 2015, Small Black has been extensively touring since the release of Best Blues, their most recent work. The setlist was essentially all new songs from their two latest records, however, thrown in were a few tracks from their debut EP and full-length. When playing older songs driven by synth bass backing tracks, bass player Juan Pieczanski would put down his 4-string and proceed to play 6-string guitar for the tunes. The surreal vocals and saturated synth riffs, accompanied by deep, rich rhythms kept the audience hypnotized for the entirety of the performance. 

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