Today's music industry is filled with all sorts of new phenomena. Thanks to television programming like American Idol and Rock Star: INXS, the latest music mega-stars are fashioned live right in front of our eyes. Like robots fresh off the conveyor belt, these new sensations dutifully perform songs written for them and shake their booties as their choreographers dictate. Another phenomenon currently rearing its head is the rise of neo-new wave bands like The Killers and Franz Ferdinand. New wave initially arose as a reaction to the overproduced and uninspired pop music of the 1970s, and despite all the efforts of these new bands to emulate the sound made oh-so-popular in the 1980s, most don't do it justice. Taking a backseat to all these '80s throwbacks is the diamond in the rough band, The Epoxies.
The Epoxies are Roxy Epoxy (Vocals), FM Static (Keys/Vocals), Ray Cathode (Drums), Viz Spectrum (Guitar), and Shock Diode (Bass). All together they form the energetic synth/punk/new wave marvel hailing from Portland, Oregon. Forming in 2000, the band wanted to try something new so they dragged out the synthesizers as a joke.
"They [synthesizers] weren't very popular at the time, and the funny thing is that they're everywhere now," laughs Epoxy. "Everything just kind of fell into place from there."
Five years later they're a band with clear objectives and goals extending beyond just making people dance and wearing tight pants.
"We do have a message," explains Epoxy. "We're really obsessed with alienation and culture. We definitely also have a political vent, although it's not very overt."
Though not in your face, the band's politics aren't hard to follow and mix well with their beat-driven catchy songs filled with sci-fi inspired, paranoid lyrics. Before signing on to Fat Wreck Chords in 2005, their song "Need More Time" was featured on the label's Rock Against Bush- Vol. 1 compilation.
"Since we first started out, in the U.S. specifically, a lot has come about since the Bush administration took over," Epoxy says. "And a lot of what we talked about initially when we wrote the first album, when Clinton was still in office, has come to fruition--our various paranoia and whatnot."
So in addition to prophesizing the major comeback of synthesizers, the band was equally as prophetic with their political songs.
"Unfortunately, yes," Epoxy says. "But it's given us a lot of new writing material, ultimately."
The band visits the Hifi Club on January 18 and their live show is not one to be missed. One of the many stories about their live antics involves a homemade bubble machine terrorizing the crowd, another involves a failed attempt at a feather machine.
"The live show has a lot more to it than just the recordings," Epoxy reveals. "When we first started the band we wanted to make sure there was an intense aspect of performance there in addition to the music."
When the Epoxies hit the stage they have a variety of costumes. Take note: Duct tape dresses are not to be attempted by amateurs.
"We make sure it's a good experience," the singer promises. "Music is supposed to be fun. People want relief from all the stuff that's happening these days."
Whether you need a break from the Bush administration guiding the world towards annihilation, or merely a break from the "as seen on TV" popstar robots, The Epoxies are a new and unique band worth checking out. They readily buck the trend today's other new wave bands have set. Oh, and by the way, any rumours of refrigerator boxes and vacuum hoses you may have are not true.
"That started off as a joke that somehow got spread around everywhere," Epoxy insists.