Photos by Michael Marotta
Back when we caught DIIV at SXSW in March, they were called Dive and perhaps little more than a Beach Fossils side-project curiosity. But even then, watching Z. Cole Smith on the Fader Fort stage in an oversized red sports shirt and bright blond bowl cut, we couldn't help but think of Kurt Cobain on stage at the 1992 MTV Music Awards. Maybe it was just the band name and immediate visual, but the Brooklyn quartet's shoegazing, melodic guitar-pop seemed to channel the hidden songwriting charm of Nirvana that was always buried under all that Seattle noise.
As DIIV prepares to make their Boston-area debut at T.T. The Bear's Place tomorrow night on a pretty fucking fantastical bill with Toronto's Doldrums and Portland's Unknown Mortal Orchestra (featuring producer extraordinaire Jacob Portrait, also of Blouse), we've been watching their recent video "How Long Have You Known?" on a loop today, and sure enough, Smith is shown slicing up the cassette sleeve to In Utero. Ah-ha! What does it all mean? We have no idea.
We won't look too deep into the meaning behind the other shit he puts into the blender in the video -- like an avocado, alarm clock, or lava lamp -- but we're sure other (lazy-ish) writers can get their own meaning from each and create their own blog posts for when DIIV comes to their town.
In the meantime, it's clear DIIV are no longer relegated to "Beach Fossils side project." It's a nice footnote to the story, and maybe it'll attract some more heads to the show, especially those who once fell in and out of love to Beach Fossils' "Daydream" a few summers back. But Smith's latest project stands up on its own merit; it has the same vibe as his other gig, but with a more moody, textured, '80s modern rock element to it. "Doused" channels the Cure's first few singles, and I hear elements of early-'80s New Order in "Sometime," but I generally hear New Order in everything.
In the meantime, score another gem for the incredible Captured Tracks record label, which can do no wrong lately (See: Craft Spells, Widowspeak, Soft Metals, Holograms, the Soft Moon and the aforementioned Beach Fossils and Blouse), and get into a preview of DIIV's upcoming debut full-length, Oshin, out June 26.