April 29, 2014

EP: Marge - Not Bad

Not Bad is quite the understatement.

I first found out about Marge during a successful search through the bandcamp black hole some time last fall. I was deep in the "Philadelphia" tag when I came across a drawing of four girls accompanied by the banner, "We're Figuring it Out". This kind of slogan was amusing to me as it's a pretty real statement to make about first demos. The two songs posted online, "will.i.am" and "Raincheck", were rough but showed plenty of promise. "Raincheck" contrasted uncomfortable imagery like "This headache feels like you've been tugging at my tendrils" and "You kicked my spine too hard" with sweet, surf-esque harmonies and guitar riffs.  I was intrigued, but at the time I couldn't find out much more about Marge besides the city they resided in and a mutual friend I had with the band. Marge recently reappeared on Amanda X's Monday Mix and I was reminded of how much I enjoyed their original two-track demos. I was in luck because as of April 19th the band had put up their first real EP, titled Not Bad.

If Marge album titles dictate their sound, "not bad" is a huge understatement. The band has figured out quite a lot since last November – the songs on Not Bad show massive leaps from their first demos. Songs like "Mold", which builds on a guitar solo before plummeting down at the end of the track, and the new recording of "Raincheck" show how incredibly tight the band has gotten in the past six months. I've been struggling to pin down the exact sound of Not Bad - it's catchy without being pop but aggressive without necessarily warranting the label of punk. "Drizzy" (which I'm hoping is a Drake reference) is a perfect example of these varying dichotomies, with its crashing drums and scratchy guitar that are masked by oohs and ahs that add a hint of lightness to the song. My favorite song on Not Bad is "Trading Places Starring Eddie Murphy", which breaks into a spoken word piece about discontent and dying your hair to make someone like you. It's an unexpected break in the song that speaks to the tone of the rest of the album. This inability to define the sound EP under one particular genre or theme is part of the reason why I've listened to Not Bad probably a hundred times in the last few days. Marge fits in perfectly with the growing crop of bands such as Calamity Jane, Heavy Bangs, Amanda X, amongst many others, who are all carving out their own spot within Philadelphia's music scene (and making me want to move there even more).


Listen to Marge on bandcamp.

Written by Emily Thompson