It takes a certain kind of guitarist to join The Smashing Pumpkins. Membership in that storied outfit requires a comprehensive understanding of musical genres – heavy metal, dream pop, electronic rock, shoegaze, gentle folk, brutal hardcore, and everything in between. Jeff Schroeder is the rare guitarist who can switch between those styles seamlessly and explore some utterly uncharted sonic territory as he does. In the Southern California rock band The Lassie Foundation, Schroeder established himself as a formidable six-string stylist, a majestic sound sculptor, and a courageous songwriter, too. So when a chair opened in the Pumpkins twelve years ago, he was a natural choice to fill it – and he hasn't relinquished it since.
But the protean Schroeder has a surfeit of ideas and energy to burn. One project could never be enough for him. Luckily for us, he's found a like-minded explorer: Mindy Song, a musician just as flexible and fearless as he is. Song is an accomplished singer-songwriter in her own right – one who puts her rigorous classical training to the service of some brilliant experimental rock and pop. Like Schroeder's guitar playing, Song's singing is broadly expressive and mercurial. She can go from a conspiratorial whisper to a wide-eyed howl in a measure; she can channel dreams and nightmares with equal confidence.
Night Dreamer, her collaborative project with Schroeder, is a dark alloy with remarkable tensile strength. Classical precision, rock fury, dance grooves, punk attitude: it's all there in these explosive mixes. "The Taste" is an irresistible exercise in avant-garde electropop. Mindy Song sets the mood with vocals that are alternately seductive and deliciously blunt, and Jeff Schroeder caps the track with effects-drenched six-string solos with dangerously serrated edges.