Fans of electronic, industrial, post-punk, and dark wave music take note: San Fransisco’s The Soft Moon, still reveling in praise for last year’s phenomenal and deeply personal fourth album Criminal, is set to make what appears to be his first stop in Nashville ever tonight, Jan. 21 at The Basement East. That alone is an essential performance, but with the addition of Chicago industrial electro-goth duo HIDE, whose bombastic debut Castration Anxiety is easily one of the most underrated records of last year, have been tapped to support. Tickets are still available here while they last, so get yours now and read on for more about the show!
THE SOFT MOON
Though, at times, the project has seen other members come into the fold, and has always maintained a backing band for live shows, The Soft Moon is, at its essence, a singular expression and personal artistic outlet for producer, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Luis Vasquez. Raised in the Mojave Desert, the desolate surroundings and traumatic nature of Vasquez’s childhood has long informed the soul-searching, melancholic, and dark bent The Soft Moon exudes, with hints of his Afro-Cuban heritage seeping in as well, on the edges of a sound otherwise characterized as post-punk, industrial, and dark wave. Luis first emerged as The Soft Moon in the Oakland area just around a decade ago, generating buzz for early tracks before releasing his eponymous debut album in 2010 through Captured Tracks. Adopting an instrumental heavy, layered, textured, dark, and yet minimalist early sound, Vasquez recruited a live band and began to tour, fueled by strong early critical buzz from tastemaking outlets like Pitchfork. 2011 EP Total Decay and then 2012 followup Zeros managed to stray a bit away from the isolation and singularly of The Soft Moon’s debut, flirting with some sense of collaboration while crafted on the road, without making too much of a sonic leap. By 2015’s Deeper, however, Luis, who’d relocated to Venice, began putting more focus on his vocals and lyrics and singular style of expression, exploring a dark and violent childhood, anxiety, and self-reflection, to continued critical attention. After taking a bit of a breather from the road, last year’s followup and fourth full-length Criminal, also crafted in Italy (though Vasquez now calls Berlin home) continues on the same trajectory, boasting the most pronounced and focused vocals of any Soft Moon album to date, while keeping the dark, complex, and industrial post-punk feel, and raw and conflicted thematic journey intact. A complex, hypnotizing and confessional musical vehicle, The Soft Moon is an underrated modern gem, just now making some of his most important and inspired work to date. It’s unclear if Vasquez has ever brought this project to Nashville, so don’t pass up a chance to see these stunning songs performed live!
Though they clearly bear many sonic similarities and influences with The Soft Moon, Chicago duo HIDE are much more conventionally industrial, electronic, dark wave, and goth, boasting a punk spirit and intense, uninhibited vibe and live show. Made up of Seth Sher and Heather Gabel (a long-time, largely punk-focused graphic designer who was formerly married to and shares a child with Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace), the band came together in 2014, fusing unconventional samples and droning, bass heavy, and jarring electronic elements with raw and aggressive vocals and themes that instantly drew attention in the DIY scene. Soon after, with just an EP in tow, the duo were opening for Marilyn Mason, fueling broader attention and later runs with acts like Alkaline Trio (who Gabel has long worked with) and more. A stunning, political charged 2017 EP, Black Flame, would follow, before last year saw the release of HIDE’s full-length debut, the aggressive, bombastic, and masterful Castration Anxiety. A stellar and inspired pairing with The Soft Moon, we’d be thrilled to see HIDE alone, and, needless to say, they’re an opening act you seriously don’t want to miss out on.
The Soft Moon and HIDE will perform tonight, Jan. 21 at The Basement East. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $15.