Black Haus oozes style on their latest EP, Mss Thang: An undeniably cool and expertly crafted variety of beach-rock crossed neo-soul tracks, cruising on the surface, nostalgic to the core.
This airtight 4-track body of work by Black Haus defies any and all genre boundaries or new listener expectations. Mss Thang is indie rock, it’s surf stung crooners, it’s a poignant self reflection, and it ends with a dreamily danceable 4-to-the-floor party track; think Wavves meets KAYTRANDA via split EP.
Black Haus is a 4-piece band + in-house producer out of Greensboro, NC, who’s members consist of: Collin Nesbitt on bass, Sidney Pennix on drums, Jeffrey Tulliz Jr. on vocals, Taylor Williams on guitar, and Caleb Alexander as producer. Every member of the band is a vocalist, a distinction that adds a massive amount of creative flavor to the sound they cultivate. Collin Nesbitt says:
“I was reminiscing on my favorite black artists from the 50s and 60s, and really wanted our vocals and instrumentals to jive with some of our inspirations from that era”.
This impressive collection of artists cooked up the whole album in Pennix’s basement, taking on the challenges that face analog instruments and digital mediums with their in-house producer. Taylor Williams quotes:
“Compared to our other material, Mss Thang is absolutely the most polished and cohesive body of work we’ve ever released. We were struggling to achieve a project like this before, but now that we have a dedicated producer, it’s all so much easier.”
The sounds on Mss Thang and what they impart on listeners are similar to the headspace of the band members. Black Haus is creating woozy, driving rock melodies, ethereal ballads, and straight up party music, where every member makes their mark on a greater whole. They’re a talented ensemble of vocalists/instrumentalists who show reverence to their roots, channeling black identity and culture into their music. Sidney Pennix explains:
“It felt like we were trying to recapture the atmosphere and energy of how everything was before the quarantine, and share those messages with our audience,”
Collin Nesbitt continues:
“I was thinking about how a lot of black people have their minds totally set on money, status and achievements, and more money. That’s how we have to survive in America. It’s who we are, it’s a systemic issue.”
Give Mss Thanga listen below, because you’ll be hooked. They’ve got the undeniable charm of the scrappy-basement-rock archetype, but they present it with so much damn polish and soul. Each instrument hit’s it’s mark, each vocal line is smooth and unique, each track breathes in it’s own way that words don’t do justice.
“Everything I’ve loved I’ve grown to hate… liable to make the same mistakes…“-
…is the resounding lament that establishes the tone of this record. Black Haus generates the sound of youthful ennui; their overdrive bound guitar riffs, meandering plucky basslines, and smooth vocal delivery paint the sunset backdrop of Removed. The leading track captures the comfortable malaise and relatable angst emulated through flanger-laden guitar chords and the lyrical motif of not having all the answers.
Burn It Down follows with a scuzzy driving riff and falsetto leads, trading vocalists with melodic wordplay. At the root, it’s a defiant anthem to take no shit; if someone says your wack, burn it up, don’t be underestimated.
The EP creeps to a melancholic mellow on So Slow. A wallowing guitar strums in the background, with light twinkling harmonic runs complemented by a drowned out vocal hook. A foil to the upcoming track, the energy on the penultimate ballad adds a somber dynamic with a common theme of hardship.
Rich Petty, what a finale. The concluding track is levitating with wispy synths, an infectious funky bassline, and everyone gets a shot on the mic. It’s a bouncy, groovy cap on the project, ending on a beat that makes you want to move or reach for the replay button.
I’m excited for Black Haus. They’ve got an ear for the craft and from what I can hear, there’s a whole lot of passion poured into Mss Thang. Expect to hear more from Collin, Sydney, Jeffrey, Taylor, and Caleb as they release more music through NYC-based Afropunk, Asheville’s Common Ground, and Greensboro’s Around Town Sessions soon. Shoutout to Mister from Less Than Family for the recommendation.
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Fresh//hell (fka K. Flo) is ya resident Sine Wave Surfers DJ (part producer) who’s been collecting music and waxing poetic on the state of underground electronica since 2011. Starting his DJ career in Blacksburg and the NRV, he’s been a supporting EDM/electronica act (for the likes of Electrobro, Spark Arrester, BUKU, Space Jesus, Digital Ethos, Arius, and more!), doing promo and social media support for SWS, and ruthlessly amassing vinyl records, before moving to Richmond, VA, in 2019. Fresh-hell’s here to collect, create, and curate for your electronic enjoyment.