Ugh, “witch house.” As blog readers and writers, maybe we can all now collectively pretend that term never arose a couple years back. Like “chillwave” and other non-genres before and since, witch house’s short moment revolved around lumping a bunch of loosely similar acts together, and then watching as the wannabes came running with their own carbon copies.
For a minute there, YouTube was awash in unintelligible artist names full of upside-down crosses, triangles, and other nonsense. Their carbon-copy tracks created with a paint-by-numbers kit of slowed-down hip-hop beats, horror samples, and warped, pitch-bent vocals. For something that was supposed to be scary or jarring, it all sure got boring pretty quickly, even by Internet-time standards.
Again, as with any of these virtual “scenes” that so quickly rise and fall, the acts with real originality remain, continuing to make interesting sounds beyond their perceived limited scope. One of these is Brooklyn act White Ring, a coed duo whose sound is usually dark, nut not so grimy and half-formed as that of many of their would-be peers.
The pair’s mid-tempo electronic music boasts more than a hint of old dream-pop’s atmospherics — a la This Mortal Coil or the Cocteau Twins — with choral vocals and even the occasional gentle trance flourish. The group’s newer material is unapologetically sweeping, even symphonic at times, almost like one of those ’90s New Age ambient compilations gone sour. It’s like feelings music for people who profess to have no feelings.
White Ring plays tomorrow night at Green Room in Fort Lauderdale, an interesting booking flourish for the venue, considering the group’s sporadic touring schedule. They’re joined here, however, by an artist who has hardly been a stranger to South Florida revelers: Death Face. His sound is also unabashedly dark and electronic, but significantly harder and more beat-oriented. Death Face’s real skill has been in staying just slightly ahead of the trends, effortlessly evolving from dubbier sounds to new material that often sounds like an updated Atari Teenage Riot.
White Ring. With Death Face, 9 p.m. Friday, July 6 at Green Room, 109 SW 2nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Admission is $10; age 18 and up. Call 954-449-1030, or visit greenroomlive.com