“We don’t care what category people put us in, ‘cause there’s so much stuff going on with the music that they’re probably gonna be wrong anyway,” says bassist Kevin Kajetzke of DAMEMAS. “We just want them to remember the band when they leave the show.”
No problem there, because DAMEMAS is hard to ignore. Beat-heavy, angular and melodic all at once, this band’s name—literally, a play on the Spanish term for “give me more”—translates to their attitude. They demand a little more from themselves, their songs and from you.
On the new EP, Let Your Tape Rock, on Gern Blandsten’s new imprint Part Mine Records (Rye Coalition, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists), DAMEMAS does indeed rock. The songs groove and pound with texture and soul, sonically owing more than a little to the band’s hardcore roots while lifting beats from Hawaiian tribal folk, tunefulness from New (or maybe No) Wave, and a bit of glam’s swaggering bombast, courtesy of singer Ian E. Shaw.
The band is typical New York City, hailing from all over: Shaw’s from the Bay Area; guitarist John Ariz (formerly of NYC punk stalwarts Merel) and bassist Kevin Kajetzke (Iconoclast) make up the Jersey contingent; and drummer Riley Sumala (Blacksonny, The Jack Lords) provides the South Pacific influence.
Young Cuban guitarist Virgilio Castillo (you can call him Dave) recorded, produced and mixed the EP and, despite his studio alchemy, Castillo’s raw riffing, coupled with Shaw’s delivery and Sumala’s engine, is the driving key to DAMEMAS.
The first cut on the EP, “Sickkid,” rides a staccato snare and jangly rhythm guitar into a sing-song chorus, as distorted wahs float over the beat and Shaw laments “building it up just to tear it apart.” “Emulator” pulses, featuring a head-turning break that comes out of nowhere. “Svengali Hold” is probably the most direct rocker here.
The live show is kinetic and fierce, and Shaw’s got the vocal chops—the kid can flat-out sing—and charisma to keep your eyes glued and your ears peeled. By the end of the night, you’ll remember the name.
Dec. 19, Fontana’s Bar, 105 Eldridge St. (betw. Broome & Grand), 212-334-6740; 8, $7 (also Dec. 21 at R Bar).
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