Wading through endless blogger hype so you don’t have to…
COLD WAR KIDS
Fullerton, CA area group are in the running with Tapes ‘n Tapes (yay) and Sound Team (meh) for the annual Apple of the Blogger Eye Award. Their recently skewered by Pitchfork internet “hit” “Hospital Beds” clocks in at a pedestrian 4:48 but feels twice as long. A four-note piano loop slowly bludgeons as singer Nathan Willett rips off Jack White at his bluesy nadir wailing about your nieces and cousins putting out a fire. The nonsensical lyrics wouldn’t sound out of place on The Loon, but the music is totally devoid of any tangible emotion and is as interesting as this year’s Real World (read: not very). Thankfully “Hang Me Up To Dry”, also found on the Up In Rags EP, drops the piano out of the forefront and replaces it with a steady guitar lick. Lyrics here have Willett giving up to an abusive lover (you almost feel for him), but at least we have the guitar solos to look forward to.
THE LITTLE ONES
The cover art hearts the Shins and we get pop that the band hopes will change your life too. The band’s Sing Song EP has one of the most slept on songs (and best bridge) of the year in “Lovers Who Uncover”, a song that reaches for the stars and almost touches them. And the Little Ones have chops too. On “Lovers…” the handclaps star, drums rumble along on “Cha Cha Cha” and dual guitars get their due on closer “Heavy Hearts Brigade”. A little deviation from verse-hook-verse-bridge-hook-hook wouldn’t hurt, but again, these guys can fucking play. On tour with French Kicks.
Though saddled with an obviously terrible name, 120 Days are Pitchfork approved and getting a major blog push after Norway’s recent Řya Festival. Breakthrough single “Come Out (Come Down, Fade Out, Be Gone)”, a beautifully arranged synth orgy, deserves all the hype. Though no other songs from their upcoming Vice release have been, um, released, “Sedated Times” from a 2004 EP pushes the bass to the front but can’t help but succumb to dreamy synth madness. In other words 120 Days> Junior Boys.
Birdmonster’s goal is to “Rock so hard that one of [them] faints” (actual quote). Work harder fellas. We’re met with your every day bass/guitar/guitar/drum lineup, but Birdmonster can occasionally make things interesting. So they may be a few steps away from Foo Fighters and Wolfmother, but “Cause You Can,” off of their upcoming debut No Midnight, builds up a rather attractive rhythm and “The Resurrection Song” goes all distortion on us, which I happen to love. Lyrics are all run-of-the-mill rawk, but that isn’t what Birdmonster is, or should be, about. Also on tour.