This Is Thunder grew out of a transatlantic bond and concrete desire to create together in spite of geographical boundaries, much in the same vein as Bike For Three!, though through a vastly disparate sonic lens. It takes a certain unity of vision to make a project work with so much space in between and little to no time spent in one another’s presence. Jen Schande and Nopse were fortunate enough to hash out demos in Nopse’s France apartment and build the stormy, emotional foundation that ultimately culminated in their eager, oft-ominous debut EP, the bulk of which was recorded by Monte Vallier at Ruminator Audio in San Francisco.
Jen Schande cut her teeth with San Francisco queer band Boyskout as well as 90’s indie act Shove (whose second album was recorded by James Murphy) before a series of impressive releases with a band by the name of Schande. Her most recent effort, 2012’s Songs for and Inspired by Valencia: Chapter 19, a reflection on the Michelle Tea novel set in SF’s Mission District, drew praise from the likes of The Big Takeover and Punk Globe for its “deft guitar work” and vocals “among the best consonants/vowels... ever heard from a female rocker.” Jen Schande’s music has drawn comparisons ranging from Cat Power to P.J. Harvey to Marnie Stern.
France-based Nopse was raised on Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine whilst also being influenced by early 90’s European techno. He created a noisy, experimental electronic project in 2000 and went on to release a solo EP on his SP1 label in 2004, followed by a remix EP with Los Angeles trio Meho Plaza in 2010 on Better Looking Records. Nopse has also contributed remix work to Love Earth Records and is working on an EP that the label will put out in late 2013.
This Is Thunder conjures an engrossing world of spacey textures aided by Moog sounds, analog delays and lo-fi guitar through their self-titled debut’s four tracks. The surrealist dream of “Arc of the Shot” opens the EP with mournful notes, Nopse’s gentle croon, and the dialectical tension between what we offer and what we receive. Schande brings an angsty, 90’s alternative rock edge to “Shoot the Moon,” with phosphorus flashes of garage guitar filling in the blanks. The song details a relationship with a trajectory toward the cosmos falling short and a stubborn refusal to accept its entropy. Schande’s ephemeral melancholy gives way to a sugary wail of a chorus on the downtempo “Please Find Me.” The track, inspired by Lavinia Greenlaw’s memoir, “The Importance of Music to Girls,” explores the inherent, consuming loneliness of the search for love. The record’s finale, “Humming,” can be thought of as the more subdued, romantic cousin to Schande’s “I Really Like Sonic Youth, And I Really Want to Have Sex With You” (from Songs for and Inspired by Valencia: Chapter 19), with equal amounts of yearning. This Is Thunder’s concise debut is a dissection of that which has been lost, that which is yet to be discovered, and the ocean between the two.
- indie rock