Essential New Music: Naked Roommate’s “Do The Duvet”

In the 21st century, the term “post-punk” has been widely applied to acts that have no punk in their blood and, at best, deserve to have their records impaled roughly upon a post. Naked Roommate is the exception to that shameful rule. The Bay Area quartet has certainly done its collective homework. You can hear evidence of Young Marble Giants’ skeletal construction and ESG’s stark funk filtered through a strategically dubwise production approach throughout Do The Duvet. But more importantly, the combo composes tunes and grooves sturdy enough to fully benefit from an aesthetic as nude as that can’t-be-unheard name.

“We Are The Babies” isn’t much more than a short spelling listen over an echo-dipped guitar and a killer disco beat, but that’s enough to start a party that’ll get your grandparents conceived on the floor during Eisenhower’s administration and keep the kids dancing long after the oldsters are in bed. Skip forward a few tunes to “Fill Space” and you’ll grasp that another key element: carefully deployed killer chops. Alejandra Alcala’s bass and Michael Zamora’s guitar are as quick and jittery as an all-day coffee jag, but they never land a note in the wrong spot; Andy Jordan’s drum machines and synths provide the elasticity that keeps Amber Sermeño’s chants airborne. These folks understand that if you’re going to plumb the sounds of earlier times at all, do all of it right.

—Bill Meyer