Local Pick: A brief tribute to Crimson Wave, who plays its last show this week

City Paper

This self-described “bummer pop” (gotta love a band that does the music critic subgenre-conjuring for me!) foursome of Megan Lloyd (also a City Paper contributing photographer), Sophie Walter, Katie Langer, and Sam Whitelaw, who announced their breakup in February, play their final show on Thursday and that’s, well, a bummer. But hey kiddos, just remember that scene and the bands that swirl around it never really die; all this stuff just molts or changes and spawns new projects and the files usually stay on Bandcamp and you can keep on playing the shit out of that cassette or 7-inch single. Not to mention, bands that quietly, casually slay basement shows usually aren’t built to last and Crimson Wave had a nice four-year run.

Douche-y, idyllic show-memory time: Wet Brain and Priests and probably another band or two I’m just not remembering right now at Holy Underground in winter 2014, along with Crimson Wave, whose lackadaisical rumble was a stand-out on that cold-ass night. And mid-show, when I ran over to the Crown for Kahlon to catch rapper Butch Dawson and Natural Velvet (who totally would’ve fit in just as well over at the Holy Underground show), I experienced a genre-collapsing epiphany. Something or other about Baltimore music as reflective of some grimy, tragically optimistic future that contains multitudes, I don’t know, I had a lot of swigs of a 40 from somebody near me at the show and Crimson Wave knocked me out.

Then there’s Crimson Wave’s scant but compelling recorded output. On its self-titled demo from 2013 there is a rarefied kind of DGAF-but-really-GAF spirit when it lets songs wander (‘Down’) and stumble around like some surf-rock 45 played at 33 RPMs (‘Lay Me Down’). Then last year, it straight-up mastered plucky controlled chaos on the single ‘Say’/’Calling You.’ Go back to that demo though and check out ‘My Lap,’ in which a pop-punk riff gets engulfed by My Bloody Valentine and This Heat atmospherics, capturing a particularly stoic, bittersweet, and striving sadness. It’s my favorite CW song, for what it’s worth, and it kind of sounds like what it feels like when a cool, small band comes to an end. And finally, as far as I can tell, the City Paper got through years of covering Crimson Wave without ever making a period joke? That’s really something for us. 8 p.m. Metro Gallery, 1700 N. Charles St., themetrogallery.net, (410) 244-0899, $10-12. 

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