Fungi Girls
Death By Audio, Brooklyn, July 8
by Stephen Slaybaugh

These days, with one feckless band after another tagged with virtues beyond their reach, it’s easy to become jaded, or at least desensitized, when faced with yet one more group of young men wielding guitars. It becomes a task unto itself trying to hear through both the figurative and actual fuzz. Friday’s line-up at Death By Audio out in the wiles of Williamsburg was stacked with bands of varying experience, but their collective CVs ended up having little impact in regard to output.

Arriving as PC Worship was clearing their gear off the stage, the first band I caught was the Beets, who having been playing out for a few years and with a couple full-lengths under their belts, were the vets of the night. They’d changed drummers since the last time I caught them, and they got off to a good start, playing cuts like “Watching TV” from their latest full-length, Stay Home. However, once Juan Wauters’ acoustic guitar had to be swapped out for a borrowed electric, their set derailed. Wauters couldn’t seem to overcome his uncomfortableness and after some onstage discussion, the Beets cut their set short, which was disappointing and unnecessary, as it’s not like the Queens outfit’s ramshackle three-chord pop requires a lot of technical proficiency.

Brooklyn band Xray Eyeballs, who played next, had failed to impress me when I’d last seen them perform (at Don Pedro in October) or with their recent full-length on Hozac. But tonight something was different. Their swirl of guitar and synth accents clicked and complimented singer OJ San Felipe’s yowling. I seem to remember the band having more members than the four-piece that took the stage, so perhaps for the Eyeballs less is more.

All the preceding ruckus seemed like mere warm-up, though, once the Fungi Girls took the stage. The Texan three-piece, whose members are just out of high school (I overheard that one of their moms is driving them around on tour) showed that however wet behind the ears they may be mattered very little. There was a vibrancy to everything they churned out, which pulled equally from classic R&R twang (a la Holly, Eddy, et al.) and modern garage punch. Singer and guitarist Jacob Bruce led the three-piece through a set contoured with rolling melodies and bursts of noisy freakout. Cuts from their soon to be released Some Easy Magic like “Doldrums” and the title track were touched with as much commissary as sonic ebullience making for a sweet and sour tang delivered with the band’s youthful kick. I was left thoroughly impressed. Maybe I’d seen the future of rock & roll, maybe (probably) not, but who gives a shit when it’s this good?