April 26, 2012

Neighbors John in Babeland

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Full disclosure. I hate indie garage lo-fi pop stuff.

I’ve been writing for this website for almost three years and the only music styling I’ve taken more cheap-shots at than the aforementioned genre is of the “I’m a male Seattle singer/songwriter who happens to have a beard” folk variety.

Nobody likes an over-saturated market, regardless of the product. Yes, I just described your “artistic achievements” as a commercial enterprise. If that makes you feel dirty then maybe it’s time for a hot shower complete with tooth and nail introspection. Yes, you’re allowed to include a shower beer in that experience but only after 4pm PST.

Before you do that, let me tell you about NeighborsJohn in Babeland (Released on Lost Sound Tapes)

This is an album by all accounts I’m supposed to be vehemently against. I’m supposed to tell you that their songs sound like every other jangly indie pop song. I’m supposed to tell you that I look forward to the day when Stephen Malkmus lawyers hand Neighbors “cease and desist” order, telling band members to stop trying to hijacking his life. I’m supposed to tell you that Brooklyn probably already has enough of these kind of bands (Neighbors doesn’t do the fake Afro-rhythm Paul Simon thing though) and there’s no need for another one.

But I won’t, because I can’t.

This is the most interesting “garage pop” album I’ve heard in quite some time. From the slow waltz and down on bended knee feel of “If I Were Good” to the disjointed horns and festive atmosphere of “Fireworks,” to the quirky and appropriate “La la la’s” of “Black Angel.” That’s not even mentioning “All United Grocery,”  which is akin to a spontaneous Pete and Pete dance-fest after you have tired of building a giant fort using blankets, chairs and boxes you found hiding in a dusty storage room. This is so good that I’m reconsidering my absolute hatred for music released in tape form. “Reconsidering” being the operative word.

If you can appreciate the music of Pavement, North of America (Think the attitude, not the songwriting. NoA is too mathy.) Sebadoh and The Pharmacy, I think you can get into this.

Neighbors play their CD album tape release show this Saturday at the Josephine with Make-up Monsters, Knife Hits and Punishment. The show starts at 8pm.

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