The Washington Post
Frass Green reconnects with our disconnection
The D.C. band adds layers of complexity with its new album, which veers into folk, garage rock and shoegaze as it confronts pandemic emotions
Just when it seems the world wants to forget about the covid-19 pandemic, Frass Green wants to remember. Its album “Buried,” dropping Friday, aims to reconnect with the disconnection that, for so many, defined 2020. Singer Joe Antoshak said the goal of the D.c.-based band’s new LP — written in part on a trip to a West Virginia cabin two years ago — is “to capture a point in time.”
“I was trying to make things sound like that trip, which was wonderful and beautiful,” Antoshak said. “It was also super intense and kind of terrible at times.”
Frass Green began in 2016 as a solo project for Antoshak, a fresh graduate of the University of Maryland, recording songs in the cellar of his parents’ house in Aberdeen, Md. Plagued by an onslaught of camel crickets, his gear was covered in insect droppings — otherwise called frass.
“It seemed funny to me to call it Frass Green, which sounds nice,” Antoshak said. “Sounds like ‘grass green.’ But really, it means [excrement] green.”
When Antoshak decided to expand the project in 2018, he posted an ad on Craigslist. Tyler Rippel (bass) and Antonio Peluso (drums) responded first, and the three met at the U Street burger joint Desperados early that December. As Antoshak recalls, it was flurrying — the first snow of the season. Matt Lachance (guitar and violin) replied later: “I’d be down to meet up and jam,” he wrote in his first email to Antoshak, who remembers that first full band practice because, “inexplicably, someone brought Keystone Ice.”
The quartet has since released two breezy albums with fuzzy vocals, melody-driven music evocative of summer road trips and indie coming-of-age movies. But the band’s self-produced “Buried” veers into folk, garage rock and shoegaze — an ode to the complexities of the time in which it was created, and to the maturing of a band with a scatological name.
The album’s final song, “Abigail,” is addressed to a child, a tentative answer to the questions born of hardship — like, say, a pandemic. Antoshak, inspired by the poems of Frank O’hara but a self-proclaimed “horrible poet” himself, sings the tune’s lyrics in between twangy fiddle and insistent tambourine: “Life keeps moving like a carousel / I don’t think that we should mind it / I guess I think that we should learn to like it.” It speaks to a longing for better times, but also to resilience.
“It’s like telling this child that things are difficult, and life is finite,” Antoshak said. “But you don’t need to be so afraid of that. … You can find solace in that truth, if you allow yourself to sort of feel it.”