Charlotte Indie-rock trio Angwish celebrates its 15th anniversary and cd release Friday, July 29, at Smokey Joe's Cafe (510 Briar Creek Rd.). While Angwish has been around for a long time and has been fairly prolific, 15 years doesn't quite seem possible. Vocalist/guitarist Bryan Bielanski actually started the band when he was 17. Longtime bassist and backing vocalist Rachael Malmberg joined in 2003. Neither member looks their age so its not surprising that reviews referred to them as "kids."
The Anniversary party also sees the release of its new disc "Data West," which is a collection of b-sides, some dating way back. Bielanski says, almost as a disclaimer, that some of the songs on the disc feature Angwish at its most raw and were really only intended for release so fans could hear just how far the band has come.
As someone that's followed them since fairly early on I've watched them develop into more mature songwriters and arrangers with each record. I've always been impressed by how well they pull disparate influences together. What's been a defining thread over the last few years though is the Pixies-like vocal interplay between Bielanski and Malmberg.
If we were handing out high school yearbook superlatives I've long thought of Angwish (along with a few other local bands like Scapegoat, Harvard, and Campbell) as "most improved." That's not to say those bands didn't show promise early on, but because they started performing when they were so young and new, it is easy to see now how much they've evolved.