CARMEL, Ind. — Local band Flesh Smell, once deemed “the worst thing I have ever heard” by local promoter Jessica Weber, announced they’re now booked for the rest of the year, playing mostly art gallery openings, vegan cafés, and tea shops.
“I always thought [Flesh Smell] was just bad,” said Weber, “but they look so much more professional with those matching costumes. I’m thinking they’re more experimental. Like actual artists, or something. They have something going on that I don’t quite understand. It’s innovative.”
Flesh Smell’s three-year career has been nearly universally considered “sub-par at best.” Zine editor and guy-that-buys-everyone-beer, Hector Mule, recalled, “I remember seeing them at a house show where the bass player’s amp wasn’t plugged in for the entire set. He didn’t even know. He just kept asking his drummer to play softer so he could hear himself.”
“We’ve had some rough patches,” admitted lead guitarist Danny Samberg. “There was a whole year we didn’t know our guitars had the wrong strings in the wrong places. But once we got the idea to dress exactly the same on stage, it all changed.”
The band spent several rehearsals that week scouring their local costume shop, a Burlington Coat Factory, and various vintage stores to find the perfect outfits.
“We were a nervous wreck before that first show in costume,” said Samberg. “Certainly didn’t help that we forgot to make a set list, and our drummer left his snare drum on the bus.”
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Even the band’s harshest critic is coming around to the new costumes.
“I just remember thinking, ‘This isn’t the band we all hate. This is the band we all hate in costumes,’” said Mule. “But all of a sudden, I saw their music in a whole new light. It’s not that they didn’t know how to play their instruments — it was like they found a new way to play them altogether, in costumes.”
Flesh Smell is currently in talks to release their debut album via Postmeta Records, an experimental label best known for groups such as Angel’s Ashes, a trio of asexual harp players; and Børis Søren Slüm, a percussionist using only the bones from regurgitated owl pellets.
Photo by Thomas Dove @ThomDove.