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The Black Sea

The Black Sea must be an extra-special treat for longtime enthusiasts of the DC hardcore scene and it has plenty to offer even casual fans of the sound. Featuring Shelby Cinca of the seminal "spazzcore" ensemble Frodus (and leader of the new band The Cassettes) on guitar and vocals, his former Frodus bandmate Jason Hamacher on drums, and Joe Lally of the classic political post-punk quartet Fugazi on bass, The Black Sea not only has an impeccable hardcore pedigree, but also shows signs of bringing the genre into strange and uncharted waters. As you might expect, compact, unusual rhythms serve as the foundation of the band's sound, but overall The Black Sea's songs are surprisingly -- and pleasingly -- minimal and restrained, with only sharp guitar figures and a yearning, plaintive voice wafting out above the bass and drums. While their music bears little resemblance to dub, The Black Sea's emphasis on dark, simple instrumentation and heavy, hypnotic rhythms would seem indirectly influenced by the dub dynamics that have had such an impact on DC punk and punk in general. Stark and measured, yet possessing plenty of energy and noise, The Black Sea offer a unique new departure from the slashing rhythmic sound that has come to define the DC rock underground over the past decade and a half. Their one recorded offering thus far, a self-titled three-song EP, is cruelly brief, but there's lots more to come from this fine new band.

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