The scene will probably go a little something like this: Band climbs onstage at Boxcar, front woman with shockingly powerful voice belts out like a motherfucker, audience remembers they enjoy honest, solid rock ’n’ roll played with actual instruments (think Blondie meets Springsteen but with a singer who probably wore her Big Brother and the Holding Company tape to nothingness as a youth) and everyone everywhere politely agrees to forget that unfortunate quote on their website from such-and-such Northeast promoter that proudly proclaims they’ve shared the stage with “Blues Traveler and other acts of that caliber” as if that were an accomplishment any place outside of some state fairground or 1996. This is The Blind Spots, and they’ll sneak up on you.
I mean, the Ithaca, New York, "moxy-rock" quintet (their descriptor—which, according to front woman/lyricist Maddy Walsh, is more about being specific when it comes to genrefication) sure isn't about breaking brand new ground or outright blowing minds, but if they're one thing, it's infectious.
"The word 'moxy' itself kind of means to do something with gusto, and indie-pop kind of has a close semblance to what we do. But indie-pop is kind or more like a lot of the shoegazer types and maybe not as uptempo as what we do," Walsh says. "I felt like rock 'n' roll was a little too 'classic rock' for us, so it's kind of like helping ourselves out with genre and branding."
Walsh is prolific as hell. In a previous life, she went the more rootsy/Americana route as a poet and solo musician (Walsh has a masters degree in English). But, since the formation of The Blind Spots, which also features her husband on guitar, things have spread out when it comes to songwriting practices and the final product. Even a few minutes on their bandcamp page operates like a mini-tour of their wildly varied sounds, and you've gotta love a band that tries hard (and generally succeeds) in honing a varied repertoire without seeming unfocused.
Elements from rock, pop, Americana, country and even reggae peek out from their songs. There's plenty of synth to be found as well, but Walsh says the evolution has been organic. "It's just kind of where the music went, and it would be such a sad thing to think you can't be openly creative and you can only do one thing because that's what your band is supposed to sound like," she explains.
Granted, she's a little sick of being compared to female singer-songwriters simply because they're also women who play music, but she's still a Jenny Lewis fan (because who the hell isn't) and says her favorite compliment came from a biker who likened her style to Joe Cocker. "I've heard Blondie before, now that you mention it. … It's pop music, but it's quirkier than just Top 40 pop music," says Walsh. "When we choose to do a cover because we're playing a festival and want to do something special, I'll almost always choose something with a male singer like Zeppelin or AC/DC."
Regardless, The Blind Spots have plenty of original material to cull from, and they've recently wrapped bass and drum tracks for a forthcoming album. Walsh says they're whittling down the final track listing from 19 new songs (that's a lot, if you didn't know), some of which were written while the band was stuck for 16 days in the Coachella Valley after a particularly disastrous vehicle breakdown.
"We might ultimately choose to release something that packs more of a punch, and I think a lot of the new stuff is certainly going to be heading in that direction," Walsh says. "I started to think, 'Hey, wait a second! This is my band, and I can make it sound like whatever I'd like!'"
The Blind Spots
10 pm Saturday April 15. Free.
530 S Guadalupe St.,