The dust from R. Kelly-gate has settled, and this weekend the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival takes place at dozens of venues in the Arena District and Short North. The dust from has settled, and this weekend the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival takes place at dozens of venues in the Arena District and Short North.
Très angular synth work with a solid dose of pop danceability, the Bad Doctors’ songs inhabit the goofy dystopian intersection of post-punk and new wave. While not as popular as it was a few short years ago, this brand of self-consciously bleak synth-punk can still shred when the synthesizers are in the right hands. Songs like the glittering standout “Burning City” — the title track from the band’s newest record — and “In Time of Plague” prove the Bad Doctors know what they’re doing.
Cincinnati three-piece Tweens live up to their covetable name and then some. This is sing-into-the-hairbrush stuff. This is throw-your-pizza-slices-up-in-the-air stuff. It’s jittery pop-punk so unrelentingly catchy it’s impossible not to dance and kick and bob your head. If you’re unable to move like crazy at the moment you’re listening to Tweens (unlucky timing), it’s OK because your mind will picture yourself doing so. Singer Bridget Battle’s vocals channel the pleather ’80s — specifically a brattier, less new wave Missing Persons — while the riffs keep everybody happy, giving off seriously joyous basement party vibes. You want to know what the songs are about? Being bored, being in love, staying up late, wanting more from your relationships and life. Tween stuff.
Sam Cook-Parrott’s brief and willfully heart-on-sleeve songs as Radiator Hospital are lo-fi and variously noisy, plucked and catchy. Radiator Hospital’s influences are as diverse-yet-narrow as Beirut, Neutral Milk Hotel, the Unicorns and fun. There’s a lot going, even within single songs. “Your Boyfriend,” from last year’s Something Wild LP, for example, starts out as a jaunty acoustic bedsitter only to turn blown-out, electric and loud.