For some reason, those “Is Rock Dead?” think pieces continue to be produced despite the fact that we live in a time when bands love THICK roam the country whenever they’re not tearing things up in their own Brooklyn backyard. Sure, the idea that there may be that the genre has struggled to move forward in recent decades, but what they seem to overlook is the fact that most of we’re pretty happy with where it ended.
Case in point, THICK’s latest album happy now brings together 11 irresistible and incredibly catchy grunge-pop songs with all three members – Nikki Sisti, Kate Black and Shari Page – sharing the vocal duties. There’s really no attempt to accomplish anything beyond recording cathartic earworms that double as invitations to get active during their live shows – no misguided integration of trap beats or Auto-Tune to tie it to the here and now.
And THICK is far from alone in this fundamentalist ethos, as evidenced by the collection of 26 songs from various bands within their local scene that helped inspire the record (if not encourage them to create the band) that they have shared below. The playlist they’ve created for us is a testament to the flourishing state of no-frills rock music as it’s heard in the dive bar down the street, or opening for a favorite band that has long traded his guitars for synthesizers.
You can consult happy now here if you haven’t already, and read on to learn more about each of their playlist picks below.
BODEGA, “Pillar on the bridge of you”
We have always been fans of BODEGA. This track from their new album Broken Equipment is so catchy. The lyrics really resonated with us: “There’s different kinds of love (but I know) / But there’s no selfish way to love / ‘Cause it wouldn’t be love.”
Gustaf is one of our favorite live bands. It feels like watching one big, happy post-punk family. Lydia is a dynamic singer and the interaction between the instruments and the voices of the members is so much fun. Fun fact: Gustaf’s bassist Christine was the original bassist for THICK before Kate joined the band and we all love her.
Flossing, “Heart of Hearts”
This is a new solo project from Heather (ex-BODEGA). We haven’t seen Flossing live yet, but based on the new EP, we can’t wait! It’s always exciting to see an artist embark on a solo project and get a glimpse of their personal psyche.
79.5, “Terrorize My Heart”
Shari was immediately drawn to this band when she heard this song. She likes current music that sounds disco-adjacent. This one is a particularly fun song because the hook comes early and there are sick flute riffs throughout.
Grim Streaker, “Spirit”
We played a few early shows with Grim Streaker and loved following their transformation over the years. We were practicing in our rehearsal space recently when we heard a band in the hallway and we were like, “That sounds cool. So we knocked on the door and found them inside!
Kate went to see one of their shows alone and was completely blown away. The band is so intense and full of energy that they pull everything together in a way that club kids and punks alike feel at home.
Johnny Dynamite and the Bloodsuckers, “Triflin’ Kids”
It’s one of Nikki’s favorite tunes to dance to – every time it comes on, she starts dancing around the room. Johnny is a really talented musician and so much fun to watch.
Whiner, “Sleeping Pills”
This whole album is amazing. Cammy is a great lyricist and plays from her heart. He’ll be releasing his own solo project later this month and we’re all excited to hear what it looks like!
Bambara is such a wild band to watch live. This song in particular is one of our favorites to explode on tour – it has an energy that helps fuel some of our long drives.
Fat Trout Trailer Park, “Belt”
Nikki discovered them recently at a Bands, Bikes and BBQ event and they blew her socks off. They were so tight and all of their songs have cool rhythmic accents and mood changes that grab your attention.
Jess X, “Scream”
We’re obsessed with JessX – she’s a wonderful person and the community around the group is so inclusive and inviting that it reminds us of the DIY days in New York. They really bring it to every show, and we’re thrilled to have them joining us at Saint Vitus on October 15th! It’s going to be a complete rager.
TVOD is another rising star on the Brooklyn scene creating something unique. This song is an OG hit and is lyrically vulnerable. This is in contrast to the live sets in which Tyler (founder/leader) goes completely outside the walls. It’s been wonderful to see the evolution of this project – Nikki and Kate used to play in this band – and we’re so excited for the new singles coming out in October!
Frida Kill, “Mujeres Con Mangos”
It’s a very New York song about women selling mangoes on the streets and the NYPD’s overly aggressive crackdown on street vendors. The bass player, Maria, is the lead vocalist on this song and it’s so empowering to watch.
My Son the Doctor, “King of the Zoomers”
The only true pop-punk band left in Brooklyn. Lets go god!!
They put on a great live show and really captivate the audience. Maggie is such a catchy songwriter and really speaks her mind through her lyrics.
Lola Pistola, “Carroll St.”
We love Lola Pistola! This song is the best show in its class of loud/quiet/loud dynamics. Much like the live shows, it’s both inviting and intense.
Snakeskin, “Spinning Heart”
All of Shanna’s songs have a nostalgic and whimsical edge to them. She has such a vulnerable and beautiful writing style that we fall in love with everything she publishes.
Haybaby, “Total Bore”
Haybaby is a steadfast Brooklyn dear to our friends. Seeing Leslie (guitarist/vocalist) on stage at Shea Stadium (RIP) was one of Nikki’s inspirations to start the band.
America Jayne, “Memories”
Shari met America at Studio G (thanks to our home base) when she was recording and Shari was intern. Shari was so impressed with his recording and musical talent that she became an instant fan.
Namesake, “I’m Sick”
This is another band we grew up with in the Brooklyn music scene. FKA “Honduras”, Namesake maintains the raw energy we fell in love with years ago.
Tilden, “Daddy’s Shoe”
Tilden is basically a supergroup of a group of musicians we love. They have such a welcoming and inviting energy to them. They’re like one big family and their live shows make you feel like you’re part of it.
OUA, “Any Other Day”
Saara is an amazing musician – we loved Boytoy and we love her solo project SUO. It’s a really beautiful song that’s part of a 7 inch that goes through the phase of falling in love and then follows it up with this song about the end of a relationship. It is a deep feeling that we can all identify with.
Big girl, “summer sickness”
Nikki saw them perform Garbage Prom at The Gutter and was wowed. The performance is crazy, with dance moves and choreographed costumes – it was quite a production. It’s such a unique show, and everyone involved is talented at what they do.
Dropper, “Working Memories in a Bowling Alley”
Andrea writes extremely catchy and honest songs. We love this extra one because we know the bowling alley she’s talking about – it’s always fun to figure out the origins of a song.
Joséphine Network, “Music is easy”
Music only comes easy to Josephine – she’s Brooklyn’s most prolific and best songwriter right now. The melodies, writing and delivery of these beautiful songs are amazing. Basically, Josephine Network is perfect.
A song from Nat Brower’s solo project. We met Nat while playing with his other Metalleg project and think he’s the best. Brower is such a cool vibe – which is to say in the absolute best way this song sounds like it could have been on the almost known soundtrack. So rock.