Ponytail (the band, not the hair choice) could make Darth Vader smile. The Baltimore-based Art Rock quartet's live shows are a caffeinated rush of monstrous drumming, intricate guitar trashing and the surreal yelps and squeals of an animated frontwoman so youthful in appearance and stature that she could pass for a middle-school kid. Here's what I wrote in my notebook upon seeing its epic, smile-inducing set at the 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival: “Bring to mind the Minutemen fronted by Yoko Ono on a Pixy Stix rush.”
With Ponytail currently on hiatus, its founder and guitarist Dustin Wong has injected his band's boundless creativity and merry attitude into Infinite Love, a recently released instrumental solo effort driven by Wong's complex, uniquely unfolding guitar soundscapes.
A double LP/CD that also features a DVD with accompanying visuals (Wong studied film at the Maryland Institute College of Art), Infinite Love's 30 “songs” (15 on each disc/LP) typically open with a simple repeating guitar melody before eventually blossoming into orchestral arrangements via layered and looped guitar phrases that recall everything from the antic soundtrack to an 1980s video game to the score of a John Waters film about guitarist John Fahey.
The title of Wong's album (if not the entire project) was inspired by a bad psychedelic mushroom trip, during which he said to his equally tripping friend, “I'm gonna go give birth.”
“I went on my bed and I just felt I was in labor,” Wong recently said in an interview with Tiny Mix Tapes. “I was kind of pushing. I guess I was trying to push a baby out. And then ... I just felt the love, you know? I just kept on repeating, 'Infinite love, infinite love.' It was very significant for me personally. And that's where the title is from.”
Expect Wong's live re-creation of Infinite Love at CS13 on Friday to be just as curious as its birthing.
(Get show and venue details here.)