WHO: Jeff Tuyay (vocals, guitar), Tyler Verigin (drums).
SOUNDS LIKE: A cauldron brewing art punk and strong emotion with a dash of jazz pop.
FOR FANS OF: Pavement, Deerhoof, Modest Mouse.
The Smiths were right—shyness is nice, at times, but it can definitely stop you from doing all the things in life you’d possibly like to. Thank goodness Jeff Tuyay, the songwriting force behind the duo Dim Wit, had a strong support system to pull him out of his shell. He credits his roommates, Tyler Verigin and Sarah Kue, of the now-defunct band Moon by You, for pushing him to bring the songs he’d been writing in his bedroom out into the open.
"They kind of encouraged me to start a band," Tuyay says. "Otherwise, I'd probably just be writing songs by myself that no one would hear."
Watching him and Verigin onstage now, as Dim Wit, wearing wild costumes and performing songs with titles like “Rim Job Resume” and “Carpool Tunnel Syndrome,” it’s hard to imagine Tuyay was ever nervous about playing in front of other people. Once again, it was Verigin who inspired the duo’s outrageous live show, suggesting the two assume alter egos to build their confidence.
But the eclectic sound of Dim Wit originated in Tuyay's bedroom. Self-Release, the pair's debut, ranges stylistically from '90s R&B to noisy shoegaze, though the most direct influences come from the bands Tuyay grew up listening to, namely Pavement and Modest Mouse. You can hear it in the band's minimal yet complex instrumentation, and particularly in Tuyay's songwriting, which confronts sadness through waggish humor. While it's hard to tell from the goofy titles and upbeat rhythms, Dim Wit's songs, at their core, are deeply heartfelt and emotional. Writing the album was a cathartic process for Tuyay, who has dealt with depression for years.
“Without a sense of humor, I’d be in pretty bad shape, or possibly not even alive,” Tuyay says. “The world kinda really sucks a lot of the time, and there’s just so much fucked-up shit that I can’t help but laugh and cry about life’s absurdity.”
SEE IT: Dim Wit plays the Know, 3728 NE Sandy Blvd., with the Coax, Devy Metal and Meringue, on Tuesday, April 11. 8 pm. $5. 21+.