Blis., Puddle Splasher

Blis.

Puddle Splasher

Statesmen, Gin War

Sat · June 2, 2018

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 6:30 pm

$8.00

This event is all ages

Blis.
Blis.
Blis. is the story of perseverance. If there exists a band who can tell you openly about struggle and communicate that same woe and somber victory in their music, it’s Blis. Hailing from Atlanta and originally the solo project of frontman Aaron Gossett, Blis. later expanded to include Luke Jones on bass and Jimi Ingman on drums. Their introduction was the crisp and punchy four-track EP, Starting Fires in my Parents Housein 2015. Yet with the band’s debut LP, No One Loves You, released in October via Sargent House, Blis. arrives fully formed as a complex and powerful unit.

The band’s debut EP offered just a glimpse of what was special about Blis. Gossett’s sweet vocals careened into screams effortlessly, contorting with angular guitars and throttling percussion. For all of its seemingly unchecked aggression, there was a sensibility in song structure that seemed architectural. There’s a hardness on that first EP that is distinctly resolved in the beautiful soundscapes of their debut album. It’s a miniature indie rock odyssey, formed by true scenarios in Gossett’s own life.

While it’s tempting to immediately classify the band as twinkle-drenched, reverb-riding emo revivalists, there’s significantly more to the band to be heard on No One Loves You. At points autobiographical, theological, and poignant throughout, it’s a debut album that encompasses a wide range of emotions. That perhaps sounds a lot like emo on paper, though Gossett was swift and deliberate while answering the question of what genre means to the band.

“What scares me about that term is that it pigeonholes you and it’s polarizing,” he says. “They hear the word ‘emo’ and they immediately prejudge it. In a lot of ways that describes our record but in a lot of ways I did a lot to not completely break down emotionally on the album and remain on top of the narrative and sound on top if it. Someone outside the story, telling it…We as musicians don’t get to classify our music. Listeners and media make that decision for us.”

There’s a harsh truth behind Gossett’s response. Though his view could be described as cynical, it’s more or less environmental. In fact, it speaks to some of the obstacles that he’s faced as a Black musician within a scene of primarily white peers. Blis. have since become an established act of the Atlanta scene, though it wasn’t always that way. Gossett, like so many other artists, has struggled with the complex and often exclusionary social landscape that so many Americans face.

“When we first started doing this band, the political climate was a little different when we started,” he says. “It wasn’t nearly as cool to be a Black guy in a band, it was really different. It wasn’t until I forced myself in there that I was even invited to play shows. They looked at me as an outsider, they have their scene and share members…it’s pretty heavily dominated by white guys and we don’t have a ton of common ground in terms of culture and upbringing and there’s a communication barrier and a difference in our experiences. I know that when I tried to integrate myself it wasn’t easy, I didn’t look the part, until they saw that I had some musical talent they really weren’t willing to give me a chance.

“I think culturally [our background is] really different,” he adds. “Especially the kind of music we play. Out here there’s not a huge market for it. Most people are focused on hip-hop music and culture. It affects everything, and I don’t know if it comes in or not, but we listen to a ton of rap music as a band. That’s something we consider. I listen to a lot of Frank Ocean and that texture is something I think about when recording.”

As much as Blis. takes influence from underground rock, Gossett says that the band are also eclectic as consumers of music, listening to a lot of hip-hop and R&B in addition to indie rock. That comes through to an extent on No One Loves You, on which the influence of Frank Ocean is just as important as that of Pedro the Lion. Yet the connection is a natural one: Both artists make music steeped in genuine emotional depth, and through that approach, Gossett tackles some intense and intimate topics for Gossett. He says that the album is, thematically “about growing up and having to face a lot of really uncomfortable realities.” Yet while this may be speaking to his experience directly, it’s emotional territory that speaks to a potentially much larger audience.
Puddle Splasher
Puddle Splasher
Alternative Rock band from New Jersey.
Statesmen
Statesmen
Rock band from Newark, DE.
Gin War
Gin War
Indie Rock band from Long Beach Island, NJ.
Venue Information:
Kung Fu Necktie Upstairs
1248 N. Front St
Philadelphia, PA, 19122
http://kungfunecktie.com/