Generally speaking, I’m suspicious when bands describe their music by attaching some “new & clever” prefix to their chosen -core or -gaze. Call me silly for having high expectations, but I still dream of how glorious “SHITGAZE” could’ve been. Who knows? Maybe there will be a revival.
But in the case of Minneapolis’ Is/Is, it doesn’t really matter if they’re serious or not when tossing about the term “witchgaze.” Sure, it’s funny as hell when taken out of context, but listening to their new single on Manimal Vinyl, there is a surprising amount of accuracy to the term. The “gaze” requirement is fulfilled quickly enough, as fans of big, cloudy guitars and lockstep rhythm-section grooving will note. This is industrial-strength shimmer, guys, primetime tunes for people who prefer the indoors year round.
The case for “witch,” however, may be a little more difficult to make, which is why I recommend listening to the tune, "Shine Down," linked below. Play it loud and see if you don’t start spinning around your living room wondering where the hell all your incense went. Don’t have any? Fuck it. Put a pot on the stove and stew some eye of newt with a frog’s toes thrown in for bad measure. Pet store closed? Write PETA a fat "I'm Sorry" check and stir in your dissertation on Macbeth (surely something we all have sitting around). Dig on the incantatory gloss of the vocal melody, rolling like steam off of a weird-sister’s sickest green brew--then chug that glug and start feeling invincible. All tempting fate, pumped up on hubris and black majick. You might need to cool down with some baboon’s blood to keep your charm firm and good afterwards, but if you’re anything like me, you also need to treat yourself. You earned it, baby.
Check out their tumblr here and their bandcamp page here.