Lung/conan Neutron & The Secret Friends
Adult Prom is an example of the magic that can happen when an unlikely pair of bands, bonded more by spirit than by sound, choose to join forces and make a thing together. Like a mouthful of sugar and salt, the contrast between the two reveals the power of each. From Cincinnati, Ohio, Lung consists of Kate Wakefield, a classically trained opera singer and cellist, and drummer Daisy Caplan, formerly of Foxy Shazam. Fierce, ethereal, and heavy as hell, Lung rocks with the intensity of early grunge, layered with sinister undertones. "Tony Iommi teaching a Nirvana class at Juilliard," reads one review from Cincinnati paper CityBeat. Where Lung brings sheer intensity, executed with dark, neoclassical flair, Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends revel in an exuberant, noisy reimagining of classic rock. Despite the divergent energies, these bands are united by friendship and mutual respect and they give themselves, one hundred percent, to this project. On Adult Prom, not only do the two share space on a slab of vinyl; each also covers one song by the other, reinterpreting it in its own singular style, and members lend their talents to other tracks as guest vocalists and musicians. As a band leader, Neutron wields the same creative fire and the same knack for putting exceptional people under one roof. His rhythm section, The Secret Friends, consists of none other than Melvins drum-slayer Dale Crover and bassist Tony Ash, formerly of Coliseum. (When Neutron takes the show on the road, he and Ash are joined by a revolving cast of live players - "a bench deeper than a baseball team," in Neutron's words.) Contrary to what one might expect from these guys, the sound hits like a burlier version of power pop - more Cheap Trick than AmRep. Honed over four full-length albums and shows with Big Business, Torche, and more, the songwriting and execution are world-class. Crover's iconic drumming lays the foundation for rich tones, sweet hooks, and Neutron's croon. Given the underground cred of Neutron and his gang, their choice to rock unabashedly might come across like a subversive act. Neutron puts it like this: "What we do is BIG WEIRD ROCK MUSIC. I have to throw the WEIRD in, because when people think of rock music they tend to think of slavish imitators of bygone eras or a specific kind of very safe consonant guitar music for middle managers and wraparound shade dads."