Bored Spies is an indie pop trio from all over the world. They don’t really have a home base, but the members individually call Singapore, Seoul, and Tucson, Arizona their homes. This band is a supergroup of sorts. Singer/guitarist Cherie Ko is in a Singaporean electro/dream-pop band called Pastelpower. Take time to check out that band’s cover of the Best Coast song “Sun Was High (So Was I)” here. She’s joined by drummer Orestes Morfin from the seminal late 80s/early 90s post-punk band Bitch Magnet, and by bassist “Panther Lau”. It turns out that “Panther Lau” is really Sooyoung Park, who was formerly the frontman and bassist for Bitch Magnet and also for the early 90s indie band Seam.
By the end of the road for Bitch Magnet, they were calling Chapel Hill their home, and that’s where Seam got started before eventually moving to Chicago. Actually, Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan played drums on the first Seam record.
This arrived in the mailbag about a week ago, and the accompanying email used reference points like Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Mazzy Star, and Fleetwood Mac. I’m not sure that I can hear those influences or even understand why they’re used as reference points. I can feel a definite early 1990s vibe (and not a 70s vibe), but I can’t make a comparison to Mazzy Star. I’d go with something more like Madder Rose. Furthermore, I’d be much more likely to compare Ko’s voice to Paula Kelley (Drop Nineteens, Hot Rod) than to Hope Sandoval.
Here’s the song:
I don’t read, speak, or in any way understand Chinese, but the official song title is 沙鼠 E. It’s the b-side for the band’s single “Summer 720”, which was just released a couple of weeks ago. I’m too lazy to type out or cut and past that code every time, so I’ll just refer to today’s song by its English title “Gerbils E”. Even though I can’t make out the lyrics, it’s clear that they’re sung in English, so I’m not sure why they use the Chinese characters in the title.
I like that it’s really bass-heavy. And I really like Ko’s “Woooo oooooh” bits. And the fact that those bits are followed by the pulsating punctuation of the guitar and drums. You’d think that this is a band from Boston in about 1994. If you’ve ever been around here before, you’ll know that the years 1992-1997 are sort of what I call the “golden years”, so anytime I say “it has a 90s sound”, I’m saying that as high praise.
“Gerbils E” is the b-side, but both songs are equally strong. And it’s not like “b-side” means anything anymore anyway. Especially not when it’s a digital release.
You can buy “Summer 720/Gerbils E” from the Bored Spies bandcamp page here. It’s available for $2.22 in Singapore dollars, which converts to something like $1.85 USD. You can name your own price, with that as the minimum.
I don’t know whether there’s an album in the works, but I’ll hope that there is.