Greater Than the Sum: 25 Electrifying Power Duos

On October 11, Lightning Bolt return with their seventh album, Sonic Citadel, reminding us of the aural brutality—and, you know, creative vibrancy—that a couple of weirdos from Rhode Island can wreak with just a drum kit, a bass guitar, a mic, and a mask. Like a lot of power duos, the band found fame amid the 2000s indie-rock boom. Also like a lot of them, Lightning Bolt are still going—stomping and screeching like a two-headed dinosaur ripping its way through a modern era in which even bedroom records can feel overproduced. This set pulls together 25 songs from as many duos. Most pairs hail from the 2000s, bookended (chronologically) by the grinding ’90s grunge of Local H and the 2019 post-everything electro-whatever of Twenty One Pilots.

It’s an eclectic lineup. There are bluesy bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys, party destroyers like Death From Above 1979 and Japanther, folk-inspired acts like Wye Oak and Two Gallants, metalheads Early Man and Jucifer, psych-poppers The Holydrug Couple, dream-poppers Giant Drag, and even capital-P pop-poppers like Matt and Kim. What’s consistent among them, though, is that each outfit sounds greater than the sum of its parts (typically drums and either guitar or bass), and most play loud and hard. Maybe their leanness makes them extra mean. Maybe they’ve just got something to prove. Either way, the virtues of the power duo aren’t celebrated enough. Hit play here to make amends.

 

Photo Credit: Scott Alario