WHO? It began in 2012, in a New York City bedroom with a man, a computer and some keyboards. As the sole member, Chris Stewart formed Black Marble with the intention of creating a vehicle to release his musical ideas—solo. Stewart has since recruited friend Ty Kube to handle keyboard/synth duties while Stewart sings and plays bass. Conceptually, though, the majority of the project remains Stewart’s, and Black Marble’s latest work, October’s It’s Immaterial, features Stewart working with a number of unnamed bicoastal collaborators.
SOUNDS LIKE Something familiar. Dark, melodic synthwave that’ll sit pretty on playlists alongside New Order, Joy Division, The Cure and The Sisters of Mercy. You can almost picture Stewart mimicking Ian Curtis’ trademark spastic dancing during the driving bassline in “Frisk,” or fumbling through lo-fi synths like Depeche Mode’s Andy Fletcher. Black Marble sounds current, too, comparable to modern darkwave greats like Cold Cave, TR/ST, The Soft Moon and Light Asylum.
HEAR Over five years, Black Marble has released two full lengths, an EP and a remix album, so it’s possible to digest the band’s robust platter of layered lo-fi synths, upbeat melodies and monotonous vocals in a single afternoon. The band’s first album, A Different Arrangement, saw the band wearing an obvious Joy Division influence but expelling it through a more lo-fi lens (hear: “A Great Design,” especially). The band’s Weight Against the Door EP finds it exploring and expanding that sound by flirting with poppier sensibilities and new drum timbers. Most recently, It’s Immaterial, puts the pop front-and-center with catchy songs like “Iron Lung.”
Black Marble with DRAA, Body of Light. July 1, 9 p.m., $10-12. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-982-1764.