Founded back in 2014 by Jessica Louise Dye (vocals, guitar) and Jono Bernstein (drums), New York-based JOVM mainstays High Waisted have received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that draws from surf rock, garage rock, dream pop, Riot Grrl punk and punk rock, for a high-energy live show and their popular DIY concert showcase/booze cruise High Waisted at Sea.
The band’s Bryan Pugh-produced full-length debut On Ludlow further cemented their reputation for scuzzy, party ’til you drop rock — but just under the surface, the material revealed vulnerability and ache. The JOVM mainstays spent most of 2016 and 2017 on a relentless tour schedule across the country opening for the likes of Brazilian Girls, Shannon and the Clams, Titus Andronicus, The Donkeys, Har Mar Superstar, JOVM mainstays The Coathangers, Jessica Hernandez, La Sera, Diarrhea Planet and La Luz, as well Riot Fest in both Chicago and Denver.
The JOVM mainstays have received praise from the likes of Consequence of Sound, Noisey, Paste, NME, who named them a “Buzz Band to Watch” GQ, who declared them “The Ultimate Party Band” and they were named one of the buzziest bands of SXSW in 2018 and 2019 — all of which have helped to firmly cement their long-held reputation for being a non-stop party machine, while going through a series of lineup changes.
Since the release of On Ludlow, the the band contributed “Firebomb,” a scuzzy, ass-kicking, power chord-driven Lita Ford and Motley Crüe-like single to a split single with The Coax, which they supported with further relentless touring with Hundred Hounds, Beechwood and others.
Despite being badly injured in a car accident while biking in NYC last summer, Dye, Bernstein and company have remaining rather busy: they appeared in a NYLON feature, contributed to a Record Store Day release compilation with Bikini Kill, Lenny Kaye, and Atmosphere, wrote a song for NPR’s More Perfect and were featured on their podcast, played a headline show at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and wrapped up their successful High Waisted at Sea booze cruise and showcase, released four music videos on Left Bank Magazine — and completed work on their highly anticipated sophomore album Sick of Being Sorry.
Slated for a May 22, 2020 release, the JOVM mainstay’s sophomore album continues their ongoing collaboration with Tad Kubler — and thematically, the album focuses on finding hope in hopeless situations and having the strength to get up after being knocked down and having the world scream at you to stay down. Interestingly, the album’s latest single, album opener “Boys Can’t Dance” is a rousing party anthem that further establishes the sound that has won them attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere — a seamless and hook-driven mix of surf rock, Riot Grrl punk, dream pop, garage rock and 60s pop delivered with a swaggering self-assurance. And while displaying a slick and polished studio production, the track is centered around a plucky, heart-on-your-sleeve earnestness.
“I had been cooped up for a long week of work and was really itching for a proper night out with my girlfriends,” High Waisted’s Jessica Louise Dye explains in press notes. “This song was ripped directly from my inner monologue; wanting to let my hair down, eager for the weekend and ready to do something I might regret. It’s an anthem for letting yourself have some much-deserved fun. That weekend, I remember noticing the dance floor was shared mostly by ladies, as the guys lined the perimeter. And I thought, ‘oh, these boys can’t dance because they have their hands in their pockets!’ There’s nothin more freeing than getting lost in your favorite song and letting your body wiggle, shake and twist, void of worry or insecurities in the middle of a crowded room. Everyone deserves to dance.”
Directed by Zachary Wright, the recently released video follows a down-and-out working stiff protagonist (Paddy Connor), who returns home from a long and exhausting day at an office job for a depressing dinner of cold cereal. His roommate (High Waisted’s Jono Bernstein) heads out on a date with a stunningly gorgeous woman. And while we may initially think that our poor, downtrodden protagonist may wind up spending his night alone, we see him as he pumps himself up, rocks out to his favorite song and heads out to a bachelorette party for a bride-to-be (High Waisted’s Jessica Louise Dye). When he arrives, he’s understandably nervous and the bachelorette party is — well full of shock and ridicule. But our hero quickly builds up the courage to be completely uninhibited, which wins over the party. As the video suggests, we often have fun when we lose our inhibitions and dance the pain and sorrow away.