By Anna Sorokina, news correspondent
The moment the crowd heard “My name is Mitski,” a wave of applause and cheers swept across the room.
“Thanks for being here,” underproduced indie-rocker Mitski Miyawakisaid. “Days don’t mean anything to me, but I know that for normal people, Mondays mean something.”
This Monday, Nov. 9, Northeastern students saw three rock bands – Mitski, Cayetana and Littlefoot – perform at AfterHOURS. The event was organized by Green Line Records, a nonprofit, student-run record label.
Since releasing her third album, “Bury Me at Makeout Creek,” the show’s headliner, Mitski, has received international acclaim for deeply personal, yet relatable lyrics.
Besides being recognized for her breathy vocals and poignant writing, Mitski’s use of lo-fi sound makes her distinguishable from many other musicians. As it turns out, what seems like a commitment is Mitski’s only choice.
“If I could get an orchestra, I would,” Mitski said. “I’m doing lo-fi because I haven’t had access to better equipment. It’s more of a necessity where for a lot of other artists, it’san aesthetic choice.”
When talking about her influences, Mitski mentions Björk, M.I.A., Micachu and a Japanese musical artist, Sheena Ringo.
“I don’t sound like any of them,” she said. “I’m just motivated by the art that they make, the intention behind their art and how it’s always very different but true. That’s what is inspiring to me.”
Within the same indie-rock scene, Cayetana carves out a place in its fans’ hearts with raw and imperfect sound. Powerful vocals, meaningful lyrics, rolling bass and steady, heavy drums make this Philadelphian band memorable.
“We’re [an] indie-rock [band] with a punk twist” Augusta Koch, Cayetana’s lead singer and guitarist, said.
Besides creating memorable music, Cayetana stands out with its playful stage presence.
“You can say ‘I saw this band last night and they were really sick’ and you won’t be lying because we are pretty sick,” Koch told the audience about the cold that the whole group caught before the show.
Littlefoot’s singer, Erica Sutherland, has a different take on stage presence.
“Although I try to talk to the audience, I mostly focus on what I’m doing,” Sutherland said.
Littlefoot released its first album,“Night of the Living Dreams,” last December. It is a combination of delicate, dreamy melodies and Sutherland’s mellow doubled vocals that coalesce to become “surfy dream pop,” as described by Sutherland. Although she learned to play the piano and guitar at a young age, she didn’t start writing songs until a couple years ago, a process that was responsible for the creation of a band named after Sutherland’s tiny feet.
As someone relatively new to the music industry, Sutherland defines success as making something to be proud of and feeling creatively satisfied. With this in mind, she plans to release her album on vinyl and is also in the process of setting up a solo tour.
In bringing the three groups to Northeastern, Green Line Records sought to promote local artists and give them thesupport needed to enter the music industry. The group works with artists from a myriad of genres popular among Northeastern students.
“[Show planning] starts three or four months in advance: I apply for funding, present the artist, get the contracts signed, then advertise [the show] and organize volunteers,” Carly Goldberg, Green Line Records’ head of events, said. “I was looking to bring Mitski [because] she’s pushing important social ideas that people at Northeastern stand with.”
As a non-white, female rock artist, Mitski pushes for fair representation of both minorities in the genre. Her music also dissents against patriarchal treatment of women as her lyrics specifically rebut the commands of a man.
Photo by Brian Bae