Imaad Wasif – Dzi
Grey Market
– out June 16
4 / 5

Imaad Wasif is the musician you haven’t heard of that you’ve already loved. As a former member of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, he performed on Show Your Bones, their second full-length; he also co-wrote the soundtrack to Where The Wild Things Are with Karen O as well as toured with her and the crew. The Los Angeles-based pysch rocker is on his fourth full-length solo album, and perhaps like you, we’re surprised his name hasn’t jumped out at us sooner: now there’s no going back. Dzi, which takes its inspiration from Indian musical sounds, as well as analog 8-track recording, is one of those lo-fi feeling rock records that belong alongside Dan Auerbach / The Black Keys’ rougher early stuff with a smidgen of The White Stripes (well, look at that hat! That hair!). That is to say, think distortion with singable, pop-ish sensibilities. These songs are fresh, yet the opposite of crisp, and that they come as a surprise, and are surprising, is itself stunning coming from an old hand at rock.

The closer “Underlight” is perhaps the most psychedelic track here, and it stalks like a specter haunting through an open hall. “Astronomy” tends to take its cue from The Black Keys directly – an out-and-out rocker with a heavy foundation. Truth be told, we found a great variety and strong songwriting on the dozen tracks (even on the mood-setting opener), and each song transitions into the next well for an album with such diverse sounds. We think the self-described “psychedelic” rock here is far more reaching than it gives credit for; Dzi pulls off the difficult task of being a singular unit full of varied styles, dipping into grunge and shoegaze, even stretching a bit of vast Pink Floyd landscape. It’s full of more colors than just Pink, and our only regret is why we haven’t dug into his previous solo LPs yet.

Our enjoyment of Imaad Wasif’s Dzi is one of those shockers that should’ve come expected to us: it’s vari-colored, grimy, and great fun. A strong pen and great execution makes this one highly recommended.

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