Videohippos Offshoot Romantic States Snuggle Up With ‘Corduroy in Italy’
Once upon a time (okay, eight or nine years ago), Baltimore was known as Wham City, an experimental rock Mecca presided over by oddball impresario Dan Deacon. Every summer, from 2005 to 2010, Mayor Deacon would throw a magnificent clusterfuck of a gathering known as Whartscape. Originally intended as a freakish offshoot of Artscape, the city's longstanding, already weird annual arts festival, it eventually came to be known as the nation's premier underground experimental music festival, with performers ranging from Matmos and Beach House to Lil B and Ian MacKaye.
If Whartscape was a party, then Baltimore natives Videohippos were that one kid in the corner with LED gloves, hypnotizing attendees by way of a quivering, Technicolor prism (the musical equivalent, at least). In many ways, the synth-punks served as a facsimile for Wham City itself: aesthetically esoteric, musically accessible and unflinchingly, unabashedly weird.
One fateful night in 2008, Videohippos played a show in New York City as part of Deacon's zany "Round Robin" tour. It was here that Jim Triplett, the band's guitarist and vocalist, met the love of his life: a Miami native by the name of Ilenia Madelaire, who approached him after the concert to compliment his work. The two formed a fast bond, and once Videohippos broke up at the turn of the decade, they decided to start a project of their own, and began performing as the minimalist rock duo Romantic States.
Four albums in, Triplett and Madelaire have shared stages with hometown heroes like Beach House and Wildhoney, expanding their humble lo-fi sound into a robust, Flipper-esque racket. Now, Triplett and Madelaire are gearing up to release Corduroy in Italy, their jangliest, most full-bodied LP yet. Stream it in its entirety below ahead of its May 12 release date. Long live Wham City!
Romantic States' new album, Corduroy in Italy, is out May 12 via Gentle Reminder. Pre-order it here.