by Nathan Springer (@drownloading)
Citrus City Records has acted as a bastion of Richmond’s underrated and prolific DIY scene for going on four years, releasing records from a highly curated roster of diverse artists at an unyielding pace. With a strong emphasis on quality control, it can be easy for the label’s catalog to bleed together; it’s hard for certain releases to stand out when most of them are great. However, the self-titled debut from Richmond’s own ing, released at the end of September, stands out as an adventurous new voice from Citrus City.
Ing’s Bandcamp describes their music as being “composed of only notes and no chords,” and you’d almost believed this puzzling descriptor at first. This is a band with lots and lots of riffs. But not normal “riffs.” More like riffs that have been thrown in a blender and reorganized from the fragments. ing may run into a common problem for any band that doesn’t play in 4/4 all the time: they will be mis-categorized as a “math rock” band. However, the heart of these songs almost sounds folky or “pastoral,” in an incredibly warped and mysterious way. The warm, saturated production lends to this feeling; the guitar is spidery and fluttery, like it was recorded to an old VHS tape, and the bass and drums fill in all of the spaces that are left open by the guitar and tastefully reverb-drenched vocals. Songwriting-wise, the band jumps from mood to mood at an incredible pace while still maintaining a sense of cohesion. The album almost blends together as one big fever dream rather than feeling separated into specific songs, although “dust” and “sheep” are definitely highlights.
Another blurb on ing’s Bancamp labels them as “an ~experimental~ rock band from central VA.” They don’t need to ironically distance themselves from that overused term with tildes; you can tell from listening alone that this is a band that meticulously tries fitting different pieces together, letting certain ideas stick and allowing others to drift away. I haven’t heard anything quite like it before, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.