Family is a tricky thing, and even the close-knit ones don't always see eye to eye. That's partly why it amazes me when families don't just stick together, but thrive in a creative partnership. That's what's at work at the core of Lindy Vision, a band comprised of Albuquerque sisters Carla, Dorothy and Natasha Cuylear, who have been making music together since their teens.
Born in Las Cruces and raised by their father, the Cuylear sisters bonded
together over music in the early aughts when New York bands like The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were making huge waves on modern rock radio
stations. Listening to music and making frequent trips to El Paso to see any band of note helped the sisters get through an often tumultuous adolescence. Lead singer and keyboardist Dorothy Cuylear speaks both about growing up with divorced parents and living in a small town while of both African
American and Jicarilla Apache heritage.
"It was a difficult upbringing for us. Just in general, being minorities in Las Cruces felt super isolated and lonely," she tells SFR. "But when the music stuff started happening in our teenage years it really connected with us. We loved it."
Dorothy's songwriting reflects her connection to music as a therapeutic outlet. As the lyricist in the band, her words are personal and intimate, especially on 2017's full-length Jute, which she wrote in the aftermath of the death of the sisters' mother. That thread of personal songwriting continues on Lindy Vision's upcoming EP, Adult Children, Pt. 1, which draws its name from Janet G Woititz' 1983 book Adult Children of Alcoholics. The songs explore mental health issues and substance abuse, and while the lyrics and vocals communicate that weight and pathos, musically it's some of the band's most buoyant material to date. Similar to New Order's ability to make pain danceable, Lindy Vision marries driving dance rhythms and bright, playful synths with Natasha's woeful, reverb-rich guitar to great effect. The songs have somber tones but are ultimately disco-ball poppy—like a soundtrack for when you want to party through your dark nights of the soul.
This balance of mood and sound comes from the organic process with which the Cuylears write their songs. Collaboration is key for Lindy Vision, and their process leads to juxtapositions of lyrical content and sound that is more exciting than bands who stick to dour tones.
On the new EP, standout track "Handshakes" exemplifies the almost alchemical sound. A cold industrial beat anchors the Eurythmics-like staccato synth lines while the guitar weeps and chimes its way through in service to an infectious vocal melody that can be both forcefully present and cooly detached in turns. It's not quite a throwback, even with its familiar elements. It sounds current and vital, all while challenging the notion that intimate music has to be soft. This is intimacy that will make you shake to it.
But even with the serious themes of mental health awareness at the forefront, what if people just want to dance? It's a notion that doesn't seem to bother Dorothy.
"That's the cool thing about music; you put your art out there and people are going to receive it however they're going to receive it," she says.
Even if her songs are often born from hardship, she expresses a gratitude to people who simply want to dance with them. "I'm glad people are dancing to my sadness or depression or to my manic moment," she explains. "I've loved dance since I was little. It's just like going with the flow of life and moving."
Therein seems to lie the secret to Lindy Vision's sound: an optimistic light to help work through the tough times.
Lindy Vision Album Release Party with Innastate, Nataanii Means, Lyla June and DJ LRT
8 pm Saturday Feb 23. $12-$15.
1352 Rufina Circle,