I’ll tell you right off the bat that this post will focus at least a little on how much I like to look at pictures of the women who make up Warpaint. I have huge crushes on all of them. They wear pretty hats and dresses and scarves. PLUS they create dreamy rock music and they’ll probably get really popular in the next year or two. Lovely women musicians on the brink of great renown? A whole bunch of the best traits for a band to have.
Warpaint was started in Los Angeles more than ten years ago by sisters Shannyn Sossamon (yep, that one) and Jenny Lee Lindberg on drums and bass, respectively. Shannyn got a little bit famous for being in movies, and left the band. Jenny now plays with Emily Kokal (guitar), Theresa Wayman (guitar), and Stella Mozgawa (drums and keys). The band shares songwriting and vocals, which is, strangely, a rare quality in a band, and a vote of confidence in their musicianship.
The other vote of confidence in their music is, uh… their music. They self-released an album in 2009 that John Frusciante (yep, that one) produced, and their latest album (The Fool, released in October) was put out by Rough Trade (see also The Decemberists, The Morning Benders, Antony and the Jonhsons). NPR just fell in love with them. I love when NPR falls in love with indie bands. It feels like when my great-aunt told me, when I was 13, that she was going over to Hastings after brunch to buy the new *NSYNC Christmas album. In the best way possible.
Warpaint sounds like they’re telling you a secret. Their vocals are almost always layered, and the guitars and drums float unobtrusively in the background. Again, in the best way possible. The Fool is impeccably produced, and the instruments, vocals included, are well-knit. These songs are clearly hand-crafted, but only clearly enough that we can appreciate exactly HOW well-crafted they are. And THEN we remember that, experts that they already are, this is only THE FIRST full-length album by this band. Their live show is supposed to by hyper-exciting and experimental. So now we all get to sit around, batting our eyelashes at pictures of them (…no? Just me?) and reveling in the nonstop touring that up-and-coming bands always do around their first albums.
Here’s their music video, directed by Shannyn Sossamon herself. It’s a pretty perfect sum-up of who Warpaint are and why they’re so fabulous, in all their blurry-edged glory.