A band lined up on the stage with pink lights. Two women are singing.

SMiiLE’s Valentine’s Bash

By Claire Barker
Music Journalist

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, the world is high on capitalist love schemes. Hot reds, bright pinks, and materialized romance. The day after Valentine’s Day is a liminal space. It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing. After all the love is gone, what’s next? This year, instead of moping around in the post-cupid wreckage, I found myself at Swan Dive for SMiiLE’s double single release show. It was here that I found love to exist once more, even after Valentine’s Day was over.

SMiiLE is an experimental pop band based out of Austin, Texas. Guitarist Jake Miles fronts the band. Mary Bryce and Annie Long account for SMiiLE’s luxurious harmonies. The band’s rhythm section is comprised of Harrison Anderson on bass and Everett Bergstedt on drums. Unlike most pop music, SMiiLE maintains a sense of earnestness through warm dissonance and playful melody. Smiile is known for being polyrhythmic and instrumentally complex. Intricacies can be heard while listening to SMiiLE on any platform, but hearing them live is a true experience.

Flowers, balloons, and pink lights on the stage for Smiile's show.
SMiiLE’s stage setup for their Valentine’s show. Image by Claire Barker.

Singers Mary Bryce and Annie Long apply ethereal harmonies over Jake Miles’s punctuative melody. Together, the group’s team of vocals are what truly make up their eclectic pop sound. Crazy guitar licks combined with probably the most elaborate jazz driven drum parts in the greater Austin area are what make SMiiLE so exciting to listen to. It isn’t just the music that sets them apart. Mary Bryce and Annie Long strengthen the band’s aesthetic at live shows with matching avant-garde outfits and dance moves. SMiiLE exudes energy, so you can’t help but, well, smile while listening to them.

SMiiLE’s double single release show was an event celebrating the deliverance of two new singles, “Someone Who Can Do Both”, and “Mystical Experience”, and also the release of their music video for “The Way You Remind Me”. The band plans to continue releasing new music at their shows each month of 2019. While listening to the band play, I couldn’t help but notice the repetitive allusion to love and happiness within their songs. Something about the heavy bass, uplifting melodies, and romantic lyrics make you want to give everyone in the venue a big hug. Valentine’s Day can make you feel like love is a plastic corporate scam instead of a valid emotion. SMiiLE reminded me through their new singles that love is more than cheap roses and bad chocolate. Love is good music!

Make sure to catch more of SMiiLE’s music at their upcoming shows, and be sure to check out their newest singles.

Featured image by Claire Barker.

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