They are called Lindy Vision.
And they are formidable. Listening to one of their records is like having the universe of funky no-wave glitch over for lunch. Of course, their shows are something else, graceful and gamboling but with the glam and gravity to knock you the hell out.
And so yeah, you’ve got to have vision. The ability to find a path, much less navigate it through the churning waters of rock-and-roll-landia toward your own version of success can be traumatizing, even disintegrating. In any case let’s just say that the journey is transformative, whether you come out the other side ground up, disfigured like a million others or built into a musical machine for the ages, como Lindy Vision.
Even then, you’ll need every ounce of your ability to continue to see clearly—past, present and future—in order to survive a world made from guitars and good intentions, self-doubt and self-preservation. Because rock.
It also helps if you’ve been listening. Taking in the scene, listening to everything that nature presents. Letting the sound crawl through your ears and into your heart and then your mind can provide just the right sort of fuel, the kind you are gonna need to fly ever closer to the sun in your search for sonic certainty.
That’s a long introduction for a local band that gets to have their next album release party at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, a venue that’s hosted acts like Waxahatchee and Ty Segall as it drives up the hep avant-garde quotient among venues in central New Mexico.
Clearly the Cuylear sisters—Natasha, Dorothy and Carla, who are Lindy Vision—know what’s at stake as they navigate the waters with aplomb, dropping bombs, beautiful buckets of tuneage from this world and beyond, as they proceed to conquer a scene that until recently, has been dominated by white men.
Last Friday, Lindy Vision took time from their notable lives outside the bubble—as lawyers and pharmacists, for Crissakes—and appeared at Weekly Alibi. In what seemed more like an arcane ritual derived from the practices of Patti Labelle and Sly and the Family Stone, a photoshoot preceded one of the most interesting conversations heard at this joint in a many a month. The four of us chatted through all sorts of mostly musical moments. Here’s a transcript.
Weekly Alibi: I’ll tell you, I remember when your last album, Jute, dropped. I remember I just listened and listened and listened to that record, trying to figure it out; it’s so good and has so many influences floating through it. What’s up with you all now, a year later?
[The three sisters laugh at the interviewer’s nonchalance]
Dorothy Cuylear: We’re weirdoes!
You’re weirdoes? That’s cool; I can tell from the makeup.
Really, we’re workaholics. It’s funny you mention our last album. Jute was recorded at Sonic Ranch, in Tornillo, Texas.
Yeah, that’s one of the best studios in the region, like our Muscle Schoals.
Dorothy: We were very honored to record there, a lot of artists we really respect have done work there, like Beach House. It’s an honor to work there, with our team.
Natasha Cuylear: So we’re here to promote our new album, Adult Children, which we also made at Sonic Ranch. This is part one.
Dorothy: We also have a part two, we haven’t talked about the release date for that yet; later this year or maybe next year.
Natasha: Our love affair with Sonic Ranch began because they recorded some of the bands we really love, that we’ve been listening to; we were captivated.
I’ve noticed that your studio sound is lush; it seems like the perfect environment for you all to grow your sound and let it blossom.
Carla Cuylear: Yeah, that’s a good point. We wanted to experience a sort of studio magic, like what The Beatles or Radiohead got.
The world of experimentalism opens up?
Carla: Right, so on this album you are going to hear sounds that are similar to Jute, but a little bit more textured.
Natasha: There’re just the three of us. We each play one instrument when we write the songs, but in the studio we add layers. This is the first album we’ve worked on with a producer, Enrique Tena Padilla.
Wow. Good choice. He recorded a couple of Oh Sees records I really dig. What’s the new album about, what direction did you take with Padilla?
Natasha: I think we’ve definitely evolved as artists on this album. We took more time with the writing process. Dorothy is our lyricist, maybe she can speak to that [laughs] …
Dorothy, do you write the song titles too? I really dig the one word titles on Jute. And the songs are lyrically intense, with names like “Pills” and “Fake.” Where does that sense of danger and dissolution come from?
Dorothy: We wanted to do the one-word titles as a reference to Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. album. Overall it’s about trying to capture the one word thing that describes that song. For me, lyrically, those words, those one-word titles are part of my manifesto, they symbolize things in my life and are part of a diary or journal. When we do the lyrics, one line becomes one song. My technique is improvisatory and then I kinda finesse it and sew the beast together. I’ll have my own ideas about it, Natasha and Carla will have their own ideas about it. We work together to tweak it into something meaningful.
Natasha: Each album we do captures a moment in our lives. Jute was super intense because that was the time when our mother passed. Her picture is made the cover. It felt like that, frantic, with a what’s going on in the world, it’s the end of the world vibe. But also a feeling that we’ve got to survive. We identify as survivors of all sorts of things. It’s in our history.
Dorothy: That’s where the title of the new record comes from; there’s a book called Adult Children of Alcoholics. I have a really good friend that’s in recovery. She and I have been talking for months, years really. She’s like, “Here’s this book.” It was the first time I ever encountered that; I’ve been going to counseling since elementary school and none of the practitioners I saw suggested that book. But we’ve had substance abuse in my family, we’ve struggled with addiction. Just being in the music industry, late nights, using alcohol as an anxiolytic, to loosen up can be a problem.
So how do those personal experiences inform the new album?
Dorothy: They’re not fictitious stories. These things really happened to us. One of our songs, “N’girls” is about a bullying instance we had here in Burque as part of the scene. I wrote that as like, hey, we’re just trying to make music and be ourselves and we don’t wanna beef with you. It was just me venting; we felt attacked. It was personal but now it’s like our anti-bullying song.
And you’ve been working in Burque for years, que no?
Natasha: Yeah. We have a fan base here now. We’re getting more and more visible, out there playing.
Carla: But we’re very private people and we don’t hang out a lot.
I know the feeling.
Carla: We’re very reclusive, surprisingly, for being in a band.
Has the scene here been welcoming, has it been difficult?
Dorothy: I think the rock scene here is kinda tough. And every Southwest American city might have a similar situation, seems the same. But I think for us, when we started, people weren’t very welcoming. There were a few people on the scene who said, yeah, I get Lindy Vision and they would give us a chance, let us open for so and so or ask us to play more shows. That was nice, but it was very few people.
When it came time to schedule a show for your album release, what happened?
Natasha: We scheduled the event to happen at Meow Wolf. We went that route, even though we consider ourselves an Albuquerque band, because a local venue we requested here was unavailable. But when one door shuts, another opens.
Dude. That’s a total score. That’s a for realz engagement; I think you can forget about rock clubs for awhile if you have that joint under your belt.
Dorothy: We were really stoked because Meow Wolf is synonymous with really happening performances and it’s culturally relevant. They’re offering what’s above and beyond what’s available at other outlets.
It’s a huge coup. Who gets to have their album release party at Meow Wolf? Damn good on ya.
Dorothy: I really have to give credit to our friend Wake Self, who helped us put the date together. And speaking of the community, I will say that the hip-hop scene here has been really welcoming.
I grok that. I feel totally comfortable, like I’m in my element at those shows.
Natasha: It’s really open. It’s a very different scene than the rocanrol scene we have. I enjoy it, too; I’m all about it.
Well, the thing I like most about your work is that it demonstrates all sorta knowing influences from everywhere—from indie rock to electronica to rap and disco—presented within a winking glam, no-wave context. So to me you’re part of many scenes.
Dorothy: Thanks! We listened to so much music growing up, the Pixies and Strokes especially.
We could argue about the significance of The Strokes for hours, but I also hear the glitchy and esoteric in your work too, you know Radiohead, Bjork.
Natasha: That’s about what we listen to …
Carla: You’ve just described some of the artists we love the most.
Dorothy: I think we’ve just always had music going, been playing music, all of our lives. There are still a lot of songs to come, a lot of songs that we haven’t captured a feeling for yet. We really want to do something that approaches the Pixies “Where is my Mind?”. We’ve gotten close, but I’m like, no not yet. We really want that, something great, a sound that is singular, but informed. Lindy Vision!