Welcome to my Sophomore year of high school. This band was my soul. I found them likely on Topshelf Records (a beautiful label) or maybe on Broken World Media (another lovely label worth exploring) or maybe on bandcamp. Before writing this I actually went on my old tumblr to check out TWIABP’s account. The band is infamous in our cozy little emo punk community for responding to everyone’s dumb questions about hot dogs and forks. Chris (guitar and trumpet) and Derrick (guitar and vocals) are the stars of said tumblr. They’ve mastered witty and slightly mean responses to stoned internet asks. In my search for their account I realized that they have a legit website not just a bandcamp now, and they’ve actually begun to charge for all their music. I guess they’ve made it. Who knew. I just saw them this summer in a tiny space with 40ish other people.
They are a wonderful band. The first time I saw them was at Slims back home sometime during my Sophomore year of high school. I forget who opened, but I remember being excited to see them. I was standing right in front of the stage leaning on one of those annoying poles Slims unfortunately has (SF people here know what I’m referring to). Three things amazed me about the show: they had approximately 15 people playing on stage, Derrick’s absurdly amazing pedal work, and that I knew the music so well I could sing along even though the music often devolves into seemingly impossible to understand yelling.
I also remember that they played Eyjafjallajokull Dance and Victim Kin Seek Suit off of their EP Formlessness. My ex-boyfriend who had yet to discover the magic of that particular EP was confused when I got really excited by the first few bars of Eyjafjallajokull Dance. He soon realized why. (We actually did some research later that night on the way home about the origins of the song’s crazy name. Turns out it’s a volcano in Iceland!!!!) That whole EP is incredible. After the show I bought a sea-foam green Formlessness 7″ which I treasure to this day. Though sadly my record collection and record player stayed at home in San Francisco when I left for college.
TWIABP has a post-rock vibe in some of their songs that moves up and down flawlessly. David’s shaky, cracky vocals add extreme emotion to already emotional songs. I find my life changes a little throughout the wild progression that is one of their songs. And this isn’t even considering their lyrics. Ponder these lines from “Getting Sodas” off of their first full length album, Whenever, If Ever: “We are ghosts in your homes. / We travel under the floor. / And when our voices fail us we will find new ways to sing. / When our bodies fail we’ll find joy in the peace that it brings. / The world is a beautiful place but we have to make it that way. / Whenever you find home we’ll make it more than just a shelter./ And if everyone belongs there it will hold us all together. / If you’re afraid to die, then so am I.” TWIABP, with the lyrics and the name and the tumblr, borders on absurdity but seems to always be cool instead.
When I was living in Spain I tragically missed TWIABP at Bottom of the Hill (my favorite music venue in San Francisco) in November 2014. Then I was all set to see them about a year ago at the Rickshaw Stop (not my favorite venue but not the worst), but then I had to be in New York for family. Finally I saw them again this summer with my friend Alex. They were just as good as my pent up anticipation expected.
Please go listen to them. Please go read their funny tumblr. Please go buy their plastic silverware.