The Spirit of the Beehive is an experimental indie rock/noise rock band from Philadelphia.
There’s not exactly a bounty of available information about this band, and I only learned about them when I started to do a bit of research for the 2018 Hopscotch Music Festival, which will take place this autumn in downtown Raleigh. What I’ve heard reminds me a bit of the chaotic blissed-out lo-fi shoegaze-y noise of Swirlies and the slightly discordant jams of Pavement. There’s also something that reminds me of Mary Timony’s guitar. I don’t necessarily hear all of those things at once, and I don’t necessarily hear all of those things in today’s song.
It seems like The Spirit of the Beehive is among the many bands who like to keep their bio private. I’ve only found scant details about them, and I couldn’t find anything other than their stage names of “The Hex”, “Buzz”, “Rat”, “Ricky”, and “Pail”. They released their self-titled debut album in 2014, an EP called You Are Arrived (But You’ve Been Cheated) in 2015, and the sophomore album Pleasure Suck last year. While I can’t be certain, I’m guessing that they named themselves after the Spanish film El Espíritu de la Colemna, which translates to “The Spirit of the Beehive”. I’ve never seen the movie, but from what I’ve read, it’s generally regarded as an excellent movie. It’s from the 1970s, and it’s about a little girl in late 1930s just after the Spanish Civil War. The girl becomes obsessed with the film Frankenstein, and she has some Frankenstein-like connection with a “monster” in the form of a wounded Spanish Republican soldier. This isn’t really about that, though.
One of the things that I love about this song is the multiple tempo changes. I love that kind of thing, and to have it happen several times in the course of one song is a lot of fun for me. There’s heavy, buzzy guitar. There’s feedback. There’s some pounding drums. There’s some frequency modulation. There’s chaos. Then it breaks down and there’s some jangly acoustic guitar. And a really abrupt shift into something that sounds like Insecticide-era Nirvana.
This is that song:
“Twenty First Road Trip” by The Spirit of the Beehive
There’s a lot to unpack there. Everything I’ve already mentioned, plus a 60-to-zero full stop. That’s another thing that almost always floats my boat. There are so many strange things going on with this song that it would drive a lot of people crazy. I’m not most people, and I love this.
I had never heard this band until I saw the Hopscotch initial lineup. They announced the headliners and many of the large print bands a month ago, and there are still a few dozen more bands to name. The festival will take place in downtown Raleigh the weekend after Labor Day. Last year, for the first time, they included a slew of shows in Red Hat Amphitheater on Sunday. It looks like they’re going to revert back to the Thursday night through Saturday night format that they used in every year prior. I loved the shows on Sunday afternoon/evening last year, but it was almost too much.
The schedule will be announced much later, and for now, all I can do is a bunch of research on all of the other bands that I’ve never heard of. It’s always a load of fun to “find” new bands during my research. This has certainly been one of those instances.
You can buy Pleasure Suck in physical or digital format via Bandcamp here. Those vinyl pressings look awesome!
After you check out the initial Hopscotch lineup, check out the ticket options here.
Also, you should check out the video for the song: