awash in songs

by Shea Stewart | sync weekly | December 18, 2012


Aaron Sarlo laughs. Laundry for the Apocalypse is not the worst name for a band that he’s been a member of. He mentions Techno-Squid Eats Parliament, the Little Rock alternative rock act he belonged to in the 1990s. (Awesome music. Really a great name, too.) He forgets about Slept, the Boston-based indie band he joined following the end of Techno-Squid Eats Parliament. (Slept? Boring name.)

But Sarlo also mentions he has only named one band: The Dangerous Idiots, a power rock trio formed a few years ago that included Techno-Squid Eats Parliament and Trusty members.

Laundry for the Apocalypse? Band member Adrian Brigman named it. And the band’s name is less about the end of times and more about Brigman’s hatred of laundry.

“To be honest: I truly, truly hate laundry,” Brigman says. “I don’t like doing laundry, and one day I was doing laundry and saying, ‘Laundry this and laundry that and laundry for the apocalypse.’”

The last bit of muttering was a eureka moment. Brigman and Sarlo, whose friendship stretches back 20 years as Brigman was a big fan of Techno-Squid Eats Parliament, had never played in a band together. Sarlo had no band but a bunch of songs, and, well, Brigman had a name. The timing was right.

“I was kind of lamenting to him that this sucks,” Sarlo says, “I don’t have a band, and he said, ‘Let’s play. I got some hand drums.’ I said, ‘Sweet. Let’s do this.’ I had songs out the butt so I was like, ‘Let’s just do some of these,’ and we started doing some tunes.”

This was the middle of 2011. By August of that year, Laundry for the Apocalypse was finalized. Besides Sarlo, who plays guitar and sings, and Brigman, who plays congas and washboard, Laundry for the Apocalypse is John David Hilliard on keyboards, trumpet, flute and vocals; Matt Rice on bass; and Drew Wilkerson on drums and vocals.

“Once we had all five together, we started writing our own songs,” Sarlo says. “It’s a real collaborative effort. It’s one of those bands where you take one member out and it’s going to sound totally different — even playing the same songs.”

The fivesome, besides Brigman and Sarlo, didn’t know each other as friends before forming Laundry for the Apocalypse, but that hasn’t slowed the band’s creative output. Between April and August of this year, the five members recorded their debut, self-titled album with Jason Tedford at Wolfman Studios. The resulting 10-track, 35-minute record (available via Mostar Records) defies categorization.

The sonic direction of the band is a wiggly line that somehow makes perfect sense. There’s bits of buzzing power pop. There’s some brawny rock. Big, fat guitar hooks. A little psychedelic wonder. Jaunty keyboard workouts. There’s really nothing else like Laundry for the Apocalypse. What other band has the ballsiness to record a tune called “Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2,” praising the movie as the greatest thing they’ve ever sat through? A minute and a half all-out punk rock assault? Or something like the textured atmospherics of “S. Palindrone” with its quiet-loud dynamics? Or the fluid, trumpet-and-drums soundscape of “FAm” with a shot of flute as a chaser? And remember: This is all within 35 minutes.

“One thing I really like about it is how it will go off in different directions,” Brigman says of the band’s music. “No matter what is happening, it seems to sound really good so why not take it any direction you can.”

So don’t pigeon-hole Laundry for the Apocalypse. Call the band’s music rock. That’s easy enough. But the main thing is, enjoy it. Wherever it goes.

“We don’t know what something is going to sound like ‘till we are done with it, and we still have to play it live and there’s stuff we tweak and add,” Wilkerson says. “Hell, our entire album, we could find stuff we like to do better at some point and add to the songs.”

As Sarlo says, the purpose of Laundry for the Apocalypse was to have a good time, make some good music and meet some new friends. To-do list completed.

“I like the music we put together,” Sarlo says. “We’re pretty laid back about it. We really didn’t know each other before, but I think of these guys as brothers. It’s fun being friends. Why not play music together?”

And that whole name thing? Well, Laundry for the Apocalypse is really a good name for a band. After you say it a few times, the name starts rolling. It has a cadence. Laun-dry for the A-poc-a-lypse. Laundry for the Apocalypse. The name is freaking great. Definitely memorable. And who doesn’t dislike doing laundry, if even a little bit?



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