Cigarettes After Sex
Sounds Like: Melancholic, androgynous pop noir set in smoke-filled darkness.
For Fans of: Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," Beach House, the XX
Why You Should Pay Attention: A recent upswell of millions of YouTube hits have rained on this romantic, wistful Brooklyn band that plays at a heartbroken crawl. Many of them originated from recommendations via the video platform and a fanbase of pleasantly surprised listeners. "That's a total mystery," says frontman Greg Gonzalez, brushing off any suggestion of selective targeting. "If I would've known how to get some sort of promotion like that I would've tried." As his YouTube numbers skyrocketed in the second half of 2015, it led up to November's Bandcamp release of the sweet-and-sour slowcore original "Affection" and a low-BPM cover of REO Speedwagon's "Keep On Loving You." Another 10 to 12 songs in the same mood have been recorded for the debut Cigarettes After Sex LP — due sometime this year.
They Say: "['Keep On Loving You'] was always just a light joke to me," says Gonzalez. "It was always around in my childhood growing up. Finally, one day it just clicked and I thought it was a great song. Like, 'I can't believe I didn't see it until now.' My life boils down to that. A song finally hits the right spot. Something I've known forever. I started covering it for fun, as a warm up when I was recording. Then I started slowing it down, and it had this heartbroken vibe. It felt very desperate and sad. There was a pain to it, which wasn't as apparent in the REO Speedwagon version."
Hear for Yourself: Their dream-pop version of "Keep On Loving You" exposes the power ballad's secret, semi-morbid core. Reed Fischer