Somewhere beneath the thundercloud of hardcore and the hiss of overdriven punk rock hides Anorexia, a North Las Vegas indie duo out of place in the area’s mix of heavy, diaphragm-tearing rock ’n’ roll.
It’s the airy indie-pop venting project of 18-year-olds Shamir Bailey and Christina Thompson, following them as they prepare for post-graduation life and adulthood, outputting their frustrations and emotions through stabbing lyricism dressed in cutesy pop melodies.
The as-yet-released Bedroom Songs EP marks the band’s third recording — or what could be considered its first “real” recording, following a smattering of singles and demos — since its 2011 inception, being released by Banana Stand Records, a tiny New Brunswick-based DIY label that only releases digitally and on cassette.
Which, actually, fits the band to a T. Bailey’s influences lie largely in DIY and lo-fi acts, naming Beat Happening chiefly, though he admits loving Imagine Dragons for its Vegas-band-makes-good story and Taylor Swift for her songwriting. “Taylor Swift is a huge inspiration,” he says. “I’m gonna get heat for this, but she writes the best mean songs because they don’t have profanity, but you can still feel the angst.”
You wouldn’t know Bailey’s teen-rage and bad-breakup inspiration from his melodies alone, especially since he calls his product “chill summer music.” In fact, just the tone of his voice — soft, feminine to the point of androgyny — makes it hard to believe. “I love writing a good mean song,” he says, in spite of himself. “We have a song called ‘Should Have Let Them Beat You Up’ [from 2011’s Lock Down]. ‘Jaded Jay’ [track three from Bedroom Songs] is very much a mean song about a bad time with a person. But there’s no bad words. I try to be coy about it.”
Thompson and Bailey allude to the problems they have, making the kind of music that is practically invisible to its under-21 community, one that prefers double-bass drums to the quiet, utilitarian drum machine (which Bailey plays with his toes during shows) of Anorexia. In fact, when asked about the performance options in Las Vegas, Thompson responds: “You either play big [Strip] venues or you play house shows,” she says. “There’s no in-between.”
In the coming months, and with graduation behind them shortly, Anorexia’s focus is the road, returning to Austin — where its 2013 SXSW performance went over well — and touring nationally. When asked how Anorexia perceives its sound, how it would sell itself to a cold crowd, Bailey summed it up: “We’re like Best Coast — dipped in chocolate.”