Photo by James BunoanSMOOSH
KOO'S, LONG BEACH
SUNDAY, FEB. 20
Who would be so savage and cold-hearted as to criticize the alleged artistry of a musical duet comprised of a pair of sweet, cute, prepubescent girls?
Wewould. But we'll try to be nice about it.
Smoosh are Aysa, 12, and Chloe, 10. They're from Seattle, and they've played shows with everyone from Death Cab for Cutie to Sleater-Kinney to Pearl Jam. They've had reams of glowing press, from the respectable (Boston Globe,NPR) to the much-less-than (Alternative Press—the rag that once handed its Band of the Year title to the putrid ass-rock of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones—gave Smoosh's SheLikeElectricrecord five out of five stars; Vice,meanwhile, gave it 10 out of 10). One zine even compared their album to PetSounds.
So could Smoosh be the Next Big Seattle Thing? Maybe, in about 10 years. Maybe once Aysa is able to wrap her hand around a guitar neck instead of merely pounding out bad reproductions on her synthesizer. Maybe when they get old enough to stop cruising on their cute/adorable traits—awww, theywearmatchingdenimoutfits!—andstart impressing with real talent (their playing at Koo's was sloppy, and drummer Chloe was all over the place. Damn 10-year-olds!). Maybe when they can escape the clutches of controlling adults who have large says in their musical ambitions. ("Did you make a set list?" a doting adult caretaker asked Aysa before the set. "Noooooo," Aysa guiltily responded. "Well, it's time to make the set list" he said, gloweringly.)
They got onstage, and sure, they didlook cute, and they didlook adorable because that's what 10- and 12-year-old girls are supposedto do. "This song's called 'Rad,'" announced Aysa, and everybody laughed in that oh-how-cute way and laughed some more when 'Rad' turned out to be a rap song about . . . we dunno, chopping off penises with rusty machetes? All we got were the huh-huh-yo-yo parts because like all of their songs (which they allegedly penned themselves—a very good thing, if true), we more or less tuned out their words in the same way we do when a bunch of shrilly schoolkids come loudly traipsing through the Barnes & Noble whenever we're skimming through a book. Unintelligible lyrics, though? A proud Seattle tradition of which Smoosh are merely the next purveyors.
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But they had some okay melodies and were much-loved by the crowd, made up of everyone from guys with long dreads who seemed to have gotten lost on their way home from the Marley Day fest down the street to a disturbing older man who was snapping really close pictures of them—we sure hope he was a relative. The main Smoosh questions are will they graduate from mere novelty act to something greater and better, or will they vanish faster than you can say "Mmmbop"? Will they hook up with Frances Bean Cobain for some freako-celeb sonic street cred? Will a 17-year-old burned-out Aysa be found in a gutter somewhere with a needle jutting out of her arm? Like we said, give 'em a good decade, and let's see if they can develop anything. Besides their chests.