Split Premiere: Origami Angel / Commander Salamander

Posted: by The Editor

In this new wave of emo and DIY, there is a symbiotic relationship between music and humor. The humor can be in many forms, ranging from simple sarcasm to full on bass boosted memes—with bands frequently incorporating audio samples from sitcoms and cartoons, references to video games, and even silly song titles.

Who started this trend? It’s hard to say. However, Commander Salamander and Origami Angel carry on this torch of hilarity in a beautiful way. This raunchy team of musicians are on their own level of comedy that is unmatched by everything and everyone, except their musical aptitude.

These two bands go a long way back, playing some of their very first shows together, and using their platforms to help one another in the way that only best friends could. Claudio Benedi and Ryland Heagy have this dynamic that rivals that of any TV show duo. Even though the two are not on any of these tracks together, their respective bands, Commander Salamander and Origami Angel, blend together seamlessly. While “Comma Salad” is like a shot of tequila that hits hard but then loosens you up the rest of the night, “Gami” is like the rest of the night that feeds into a brutal hangover in the morning. The overlap of musical intuition that these two bands share is enough to have you shake your hips and then inevitably punch someone.

Hopping into this Holy Split, we have “Denny’s Devito” by Origami Angel, a four beat count in followed by Patrick “Machamp” Doherty beating his drums as hard as he can to match Heagy’s melodic insanity. “I know its kinda dumb, staying up ‘til 5/playing Pokemon, but I wanna stay alive.” This opening line demonstrates his battle with mental health and how distracting himself with a video game from his childhood helps to put him at ease when things seem dark. “I know that every time you talk to me it feels like you’re talking to a brick wall.”  Ryland starts this Sam Kless-esque rap to match the breakdown he twiddles on his Pokemon-stamped guitar. After a minute and a half of him explaining how low he feels all the time despite everyone telling him he’s going to be okay, he finally breaks. He acknowledges that he is stubborn about how he sees himself and that is hard for him to feel anything other than “pissed at {his} reflection.”  

In the second song, “Origami Bagel” (another nickname for the band), Ryland reminisces about a lost love, and how deeply he felt for them, going as far as “taking the bus for an hour and change just to see [them].” Although he may have lost this love, the memory of them keeps him floating and from feeling alone. “‘Cause you’re still here with me, even if it’s [only] in my dreams.” About three-quarters into the song, the band breaks down not once, but twice. Initially, Doherty and Heagly unleash the rock opera that is Origami Angel, with pick slides and glissandos to match vocal harmonies and the emotion in their words. Next, Ryland raises his voice and screams while the two slow down and stagger their beats and inevitably end the track with a balladic refrain.

The b-side of this split was created by the only band that could match Origami Angel, Commander Salamander. Claudio Benedi, Liam Crone, and Fernando Moyano write in a similar fashion to their friends, but backwards. The trio starts off with catchy riffs and choruses, and they hit harder initially and then wind down as compared to their DC brethren. Their first track “Kenny” is about a dog with a name you have probably already guessed. While structured well, the tracks they release are similar to the parkour done in The Office. As Jim Halpert said, they are trying to reach from point A to point B, as long as point A is “delusion” and point B is ‘the hospital.” Jokes aside, I mean this in the most endearing way possible. This band treks where others dare not, changing direction and adding forks in the road whenever they can, thus creating songs that are like choose-your-own adventures on their first few listens through, and extremely catchy soon after you have learned the nooks and crannies of their melodies. “Kenny” is the perfect example of this as Benedi performs palm muted triplets into ringed out strings all whilst singing about how his dog sits and wags his tail and always makes him feel less lonely.

The last track on this record is entitled “What’s Up My Good Man.” Right when you think everything is about to slow down, they throw in the deepest dive bomb harmonic DIY has ever seen. Although you may not know what is going to happen next, this trio’s synergy is incomparable. The chills that run through the listener when an average emo band says “woo” in unison is completely blown out of the water every eleven seconds by Commander Salamander. The three of them are always trying to top themselves as the song progresses to the point where you expect an amp to explode. However, the only thing that is blown is the listener’s mind. Then, just past the point of no-return, the band repeats the opening lick, and takes their final bow.

Catch Origami Angel and Commander Salamander on tour together this February :
2/15 DC (TBD) – 2/16 Roanoke, VA – 2/17 Raleigh, NC – 2/18 Charlotte, NC


Jordi Perbtani // @foxwoodfl

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