Boston’s Vundabar rocks garage-pop in Gardener

By Kelly Page
pagekell@grinnell.edu

It’s time to make like a geologist and rock. This Friday, Oct. 27 in Gardner Lounge, get ready to see Vundabar and Alien Girls play sets you will not soon forget. Doors open at 9:30 p.m., Alien Girls taking the stage at 10 p.m. and Vundabar following at 10:45 p.m.

Hailing from Boston, the rock duo Vundabar (not to be confused with the German word for wonderful “wunderbar”) combines the attitude and aesthetics of garage rock with the inventiveness of post-punk. A pair of self-described “sludgy jangly jolly fellows” according to the band’s Facebook page, over the past few years, Vundabar has built up a cult following in Boston and gained fans throughout the country, touring with acts like Alex G and The Frights.

Vundabar has put out two albums so far. 2013 saw “Antics” and 2015 saw “Gawk,” the second of which solidified them as a band to watch out for with inventive songwriting and lyrics that depict angst and boredom in a way that doesn’t take itself too seriously. More recently, their 2017 single “Acetone,” which Noisey described as a “baptism in fire,” breaks out with a flurry of drums over a simple guitar line, which lead into surfy, fuzzy chords, reflecting the volatility of the substance the song is named after.

In performance, front man Brandon Hagen is known to make funny faces and sometimes switch into silly voices, doing it all without losing his determined punk rock attitude. The band’s overall vibe is captured perfectly in the video for their song “Oulala,” where they make faces, high five feet and shop for cheese puffs while singing about loneliness and pain.

Also performing on Friday night is Grinnell College’s own Alien Girls. According to Nate Williams ’20, “From classic rock to pop punk, Alien Girls is the best band you’ll see this year.”

Alien Girls consists of Grinnell students Vera Kahn ’19, Ernie Nanetti-Palacios ’18 and Ella Williams ’19, who play guitar, drums and bass respectively.

Kahn describes the band’s sound as “surfy pop punk country.” According to her, they are a tribute band to a group of aliens from 1802.

“The earliest Alien Girls recordings were found the first time that a human person walked on Mars. They found a time capsule and inside that time capsule were the original Alien Girls recordings, upon which we base our performances,” she explained.

Alien Girls fans can also rejoice in the knowledge that the band will release a new tape in the near future (“any day now,” according to Nanetti-Palacios), which will be available for purchase on Bandcamp along with their two past releases “acoustic aliens” and “alien girls! live!.”

From garage rock to alien tunes, this Friday night at Gardner has something for everyone. Make sure not to miss a night that will rock harder than granite.