Luckily you don’t read this music blog for timely updates or to get turned onto the newest records. Seattle’s Listen Lady released their debut single about six months ago. I think it’s been up on bandcamp even longer, but the trickle down effect of the internet has just brought it to my attention. Their five song 7″ is an all killer no filler indiepop get-down. If you dig Diet Cig and Sourpatch or remember Small Factory and Tiger Trap then this record is aching to be in your collection. Ater all, what’s six months in terms of classic sounding indiepop groups named for a Simpsons episode?
Diet Cig a duo from New Paltz, New York are roughly 20 years on and 200 miles away from where Small Factory first started. That’s enough time for a band to have kids who grow up to be in a band. Diet Cig have that same wide-eyed wonder, youthful enthusiasm and pop skills that Small Factory had in spades. The five songs on the duo’s debut EP are full hormones and adolescent angst and are often humorous as well. Pool Boyz boasts a huge chorus that would make Alex Kemp envious, and the stand out song on the EP, Harvard is a great kiss off to a certain former Ivy League boyfriend. Thank god they still make bands like this!
Go Violets come from Brisbane, Australia. They describe themselves as “bunny rock pool pop” and just plain old surf-rock. Their single Josie is perfect in all things bunny rock, pool pop, and surf rock. In fact, in the history of all three of those genres there has not been a song that has been more bunny, pool and surf at once. It’s got great glistening guitars that sparkle off the water and a chorus that that will make you bounce. I’m thinking of starting up an indiepop surf festival somewhere on the Washington coast this summer and my first invites are Go Violets and La Luz. Might invite some guy bands too, but why ruin it? They’re always so he-man-me-local about getting the best waves.
On my way into Black Lodge Saturday night I glanced at the newspaper box that displayed the latest issue of CityArts magazine and saw Calvin Johnson on the cover. The chances of seeing Calvin on the cover of a magazine 20 years ago are slim, but that cover photo of Beat Happening from 1992 definitley takes me back. I didn’t live in the northwest then, I was in Morgantown, West Virginia going to college and spending most of my free time hanging out at my college radio station. Back then the pacific northwest and K records were a continent away and things I only read about. I remember trying to imagine what it must be like out here in this remote outpost.
Walking into the Black Lodge Saturday night, it could have been Saturday night any-year. The DIY space was hot and the stagnant air was filled with the scent of sweaty kids. It reminded me of the Dry House, the all-ages venue in Morgantown that I spent many an underage night at when I first arrived at university. Probably not much different from what a DIY show looked and smelled like in Seattle two decades ago.
Sourpatch aren’t from Olympia or Seattle, but if this San Jose, California band existed in the early 90’s they could have easily put out a record on Olympia’s K Records (they also remind me a little of the Blake Babies and could have been on Mammoth records, but Boston doesn’t really fit into this narrative). Those of you up on your history already know that another northern California band with a similar sound, Tiger Trap were on K at the time. E = mc2 and all that, but just to make my time travel experience a little more palpable, as Sourpatch began their set, I glanced around the room and spotted Rose Melberg front and center. Sherman, set the WABAC machine for 1993.
It seems like I’m always bringing up the past when I write about Sourpatch. I don’t mean anything bad by it, in fact it’s a total compliment. Some bands try for an early 90’s indie sound and miss the mark. I think Sourpatch don’t even try, it just is what it is. They’re authentic and their sound is timeless at least to my ears. It jangles and rushes and couldn’t care less if it was 1992 or 2012. Their second album Stagger and Fade is stronger than their debut and shows more diversity in their sound. Its songs stand out from one another but retain fuzzy and jangly friendliness. It’s not a groundbreaking thing, but the smiles all around the room were an indication kids today don’t need groundbreaking, they need good songs and unbridled enthusiasm and Sourpatch delivered just that, switching instruments, harmonizing and generally having a good time. Today, just like back then, for a kid out there in this big wide world there is always the hope and escape of a pop song and Sourpatch delivered exactly that to the hot sweaty room.
Joyride who played right before Sourpatch are from San Francisco and obviously kindred spirits with Sourpatch. Sounding a-like, but coming from a slightly more power pop angle, but decidedly cute power pop. stream: Joyride – Person Place or Thing
Anyone out there remember the Lucksmiths song Detective Agency from their album the Green Bicycle Case? New Seattle band Detective Agency don’t sound anything like that Australian band, but that was the kind of my logic going on in my head when I clicked on a link to listen to them a few months ago. Better points of reference would be Tiger Trap, Ramones, Tuscadero and perhaps the Shop Assistants.
Up until last week they had a few songs floating around the internet. I remember a week back in November of last year when I listened to Daggers about 20 times in a row. It was just a demo. They’ve re-recorded it and made it better. I think I may have listened to the new version 21 times in row. Last week the band put up an official EP over at their bandcamp site as a free download for a limited time (the free part ends Valentine’s Day).
Daggers is on there, but a that ain’t it. Empty Apartment rivals it with its tasty pop licks. Summer Song is no slouch either, it chugs along with cocktail interludes while You and Me is a little melancholy but still hooky. For the final song Smoke a Cig they hand the vocals over to the one boy in the band and he doesn’t screw it up.
You’re still here? Go and download this thing already! It’s five songs that are so good, you’ll wish it was ten.