Sights and Sounds
by Mike Evans
BOYS AND GIRLS
HOSPITALITY — Hospitality
THE GOOD: Brooklyn trio Hospitality gives us
a smart debut.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Led by Amber Papini (vocals, guitar, and most songwriting duties), Hospitality combines twee pop and indie rock and gives it all an Upper East Side attitude. Think a reserved Vampire Weekend or an Americanized Belle and Sebastian, and you sort of get an idea of what these urbanites are playing.
The album is filled with wry observations about everything from ambitious co-workers (“Betty Wang”) to the post-college doldrums (“Liberal Arts”). Papini’s precious chirp brings each tune to life; the backdrops comprised of tight beats and melodic guitar stings.
Listening to the record brings you into the whole intellectual urban experience. Whether the band fully embraces this lifestyle or are poking fun at it is a tad ambiguous, but it’s probably the latter. Papini and company aren’t old by any means, but they’re not 19 either. And it seems the older you get, the sillier “hip” city culture becomes. This work seems to be happening at that perfect time between enthusiasm and indifference. “We’re still cool, but it’s beginning to matter less and less.”
BUY IT?: Oh yes.
RAILER TRASH TRACYS — Ester
THE GOOD: Don’t judge a band by their moniker! “Trailer Trash Tracys” makes you think of a psycho-billy outfit or some babes making a racket out in the garage. Neither of those options would be disagreeable. But that’s not what you get here. On Ester, the London outfit (three guys and one girl) gives us a spaced-out debut.
THE BAD: Ester is slightly uneven; the group still finding themselves. Once you settle in though, it’s a memorable trip.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Ester boasts a heady mix of early ’90s shoegaze, do-it-yourself bedroom electro, retro pop and airy female vocals a la Broadcast. Think vintage Lush meets modern Bat for Lashes while the Raveonettes jam in the background. Some tracks are all about the multi-textured vibe, but others are divine unassuming (and somewhat unexpected) bits of pristine pop.
Cuts like “Dies in 55” and “Starlatine” sneak up from behind with the most graceful of melodies. “Los Angered” and “Strangling Good Guys” are more visceral; TTT unafraid of occasional bursts of noise. But it’s these violent mood swings that make Ester all the more appealing.
BUY IT?: Sure.
THE GREAT PARTY — The Great Party
THE GOOD: Scranton indie pop outfit The Great Party throws one hell of a debut bash.
THE BAD: This is one of those pesky 6-track EP’s that leaves you hungry for more. Rumor has it though the band is currently working on a full-length.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Fronted by husband and wife team Michael and Rosaleen Eastman, The Great Party wildly toss around a bevy of sounds both vintage and modern that somehow end up clicking rather than clashing. Opening cut “Solid Gold” flashes back to the ’90s with an odd shuffle recalling mid-period Throwing Muses and retro keyboards straight off the first Rentals album.
As the disc plays on though, we’re brought up to date with “Cupcakes,” a tune brilliantly capturing the playfulness of Elizabeth and the Catapult. The slightly funky “Hecho En Mexico” gives Architecture in Helsinki a run for their money with its raucous male/female interplay. And other synth-tinged moments immediately remind one of another husband and wife concoction – Mates of State.
BUY IT?: Absolutely. Score yours at local music outlets or attend the release party at the Bog on Saturday, May 26.
NEW RELEASES — CD
BEACH HOUSE — Bloom
BEST COAST — The Only Place
GARBAGE — Not Your Kind of People
MEWITHOUTYOU — Ten Stories
SAINT ETIENNE — Words and Music
VIOLENS — True
NEW RELEASES — DVD
ALBERT NOBBS with Glenn Close and Brendan Gleeson
THE DEVIL INSIDE
THE GREY with Liam Neeson and Dermot Mulroney
ONE FOR THE MONEY with Katherine Heigl
RAMPART with Woody Harrelson and Robin Wright