AYE NAKO: The Blackest Eye: 12” EP

Aye Nako’s Facebook page states that they’re “non-college rock.” I like that genre tag. (Although in the time it’s taken me to earn a BA, my nephew went from zygote to third-grader, so I’m neck-deep in college experience.) I like it because it separates Aye Nako from a tradition of privileged, white “indie” bands that ascend coffee shops and art galleries to a Coachella stage. Ultimately, this New York-based group is too candid and personal to be easily commodified. They’re more angular than feel-good pop punk, as the guitars are sharp and jangly like Speedy Ortiz. The musical density is matched only by the achingly earnest harmonizing vocals: “I’ve heard about your type / The interracial hype / I’m preoccupied / Casually hating my life.” The words are acerbic, but when infused with the pulsing rhythm section, Aye Nako is at once challenging and inviting. These six songs are sonically richer than most LPs, which lessens the sting of it being a 12” EP and makes The Blackest Eye a must-have. Also, definitely check out singer/guitarist Mars Dixon’s interview in Razorcakeas it sheds light on the trans punk community

 –Sean Arenas (Don Giovanni, dongiovannirecords.com)