The official video for Smizmar's "Idiot," directed by Ohio University School of Media Arts and Studies graduate Max Look.

Speaking With Smizmar About New Full-Length, ‘Wasting’

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Smizmar’s debut full-length, Wasting, opens with the atmospheric “Rope Bridge.”

“I guess I was thinking of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and listening to a lot of the early Broken Social Scene stuff, before they had any vocals,” said Wes Gilbert, vocalist, guitarist, and chief songwriter for the band, whose name pays playful homage to the term for a love partner in the alien Amphibosian culture in Matt Groening’s cult classic Futurama series, when asked about the ambient track.

The primary members of Smizmar, Gilbert and drummer Henry Allen, visited WOUB’s studios on an unseasonably warm October Saturday afternoon, directly before both musicians joined the rest of The Crooked Spines, who played later that evening at The Union. Although the band was born in Athens, Gilbert and Allen now live in disparate portions of the state — Gilbert in northeast Ohio and Allen in the Cincinnati area.

One can certainly hear Smizmar’s influences on Wasting, especially Gilbert’s favorites — Stephen Malkmus of Pavement and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, perhaps most prominently. Lyrically, the record is both whimsical and deadly serious, perhaps two of the most charming penchants of all three of the aforementioned songwriters. While “Vices” speaks of “torching the Sunday funnies just to past the time,” “Idiot” literally bemoans feeling like a “big, dumb idiot,” each song touches at an underlying melancholy in a particularly bemused kind of way.