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Spotlights Combine Monster Riffs and Shoegaze Haze on ‘Tidals’

The Brooklyn trio will tour with Deftones and Refused this August

spotlights band interview

Brooklyn ‘sludgegaze’ trio Spotlights have the heft of an anvil and the hazy atmosphere of a half-forgotten dream. Their style exists somewhere between the brute force of Melvins or Hum and the gauzy textures and vocals of My Bloody Valentine. Spotlights’ new album, Tidals, is out now via Crowquill records.

Husband and wife Mario and Sarah Quintero are the yin and yang of Spotlights. The pair met through music and performed in the San Diego band Sleep Lady before moving to New York and forming Spotlights. “We’ve always gelled really well,” Mario said during a phone interview. “It’s one of those things that people think would be impossible to do – to play in a band with your wife. We’re friends first and foremost, it actually works out great. Luckily, we see things on the same plane and we like all the same kinds of music… There’s just enough differences to keep us pushing the limits a little bit. It’s a lot of fun.”

spotlights band live

Spotlights live at the Acheron in Brooklyn. Photo by Dan Redding

The pair bring a wide spectrum of heavy rock influences to Spotlights. According to Mario, “Sarah grew up listening to a lot of Failure, Melvins, and stuff like that. I listened to a lot of hardcore – Youth of Today, straightedge hardcore. Alongside of that, I listened to a lot of progressive music too – The Cure, Depeche Mode, and whatnot… All that stuff is tied in together but we came from different sides of it and influenced each other.”

The push and pull of Mario and Sarah’s personalities inform the heavy-to-hazy spectrum of Tidals. The album opens with a cresting shimmer of feedback before plunging headlong into the stomp of ‘Walls’ (listen below) and the slow motion headbang of ‘The Grower.’ ‘To the End’ is Siamese Dream on steroids before deteriorating into Siamese Dream on bath salts. Album closer ‘Joseph’ emerges from glitchy digital percussion before the onslaught of a crushing guitar tsunami.

The band’s live show definitely goes up to eleven, and drummer Josh Cooper provides an aggressive engine that propels Mario and Sarah. Catch Spotlights live if you can, and pick up Tidals now.

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