Back when I first started my Penn State career I knew just about nobody (one whole semester ago). I felt kind of awkward at a lot of the DIY shows, was uncomfortable with the idea that nobody was really moshing, and just generally wasn’t vibing with the overwhelming number of acoustic acts I was seeing. But still I kept going to all the shows, slowly meeting more people, but still failing to find that one local that really blew me away from a musical and performance perspective.
That was, of course, until I saw Dimmer (that show actually helped me find my other favorite local, Palmlines, too, but that’s gonna be it’s own post) in a cramped ass living room. It was hot, uncomfortable, and I barely had room to stand. Ultimately I was extremely (again) uncomfortable and unhappy at that show, but Dimmer played with such an immense amount of energy that I pretty much forgot my underwear were riding up in an uncomfortable sweat wedgie.
And, as soon as I forgot about the fact that I couldn’t move my elbows, I started to realize just how truly great Dimmer’s music was too. For the most part it plays over a very basic post punk/shoegaze type skeleton. Lots of reverb, a sort of seemingly monotone base level, and fairly dancey beats, but where it excels is where it gently plays with all of those boundaries. The reverb always exists in some capacity, creating a nice ambiance for the music to play within, but occasionally it breaks to give way to a much more straight forward punk attack. It makes the music have a bit more of an impressive oomph than some of the newer wave of shoegaze/post punk bands who often lose hooks in favor of walls of sound they can’t properly construct.
Which, mentioning hooks, is another area where Dimmer absolutely excels. It’s hard not to listen to a track like “Alien” and find yourself tapping your foot along in some sort of agreement with it, and it’s even easier to have it get caught in your head after a few listens. The same goes for “Echo”, where that nice little synth line provides a fantastic point of reference for the rest of the song (and an even better ear worm). These guys essentially just have pop sensibility out the ass, and then back it all up with some slyly self deprecating lyrics and an great punk energy. My only real complaint to aim towards the band is that they only have 3 songs up on bandcamp.