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Day 353: Tennis – Young & Old

16 Feb


What a week it has been for the indie rock world.  With an inadvertent(?) fun. upload by the band’s own label on Sunday, followed by Sleigh Bells 12 hours later, it’s not surprising that Tennis has been all but ignored.  To my knowledge, Young & Old didn’t even leak, which is kind of a slap in the face for a young band in the indie-sphere.  Records seem to surface early on the Internet only if there is a lot of hype/anticipation surrounding their release.

Don’t worry Tennis, I didn’t forget about you.  Cape Dory was one of the first records that I checked out for Swole Ear, and I’ve been following this band ever since.  Tennis is easily one of the most underrated bands making music today, with a sound that should have taken the world by storm after that first record came out last year.

The duo seems to have abandoned the nautical theme on this record, as the eight-month sailing trip that originally inspired them to record moves further and further back in the rearview.  Most of the lyrics on Cape Dory revolve around that trip, with quite a few lines with double meanings.  This time around, Tennis decided to slap us in the face with their pathos—these songs are about love, and leave almost no sailing metaphors to dissect. That left me a little disappointed.  Not many bands write songs about boats, unless there’s some weird metal sub-genre that I’m unaware of . . . ocean-core, or something.  Musically, however, these songs will have no problem transporting you to some boat off of a Cape Cod shore.  Dreamy, pitch-perfect singing, paired with those good ol’ jangly/trebly guitars sound as if they belong to the sea.

Day 58: Throw Me the Statue – Moonbeams

27 Apr


Throw Me the Statue…yeah. I’m not even gonna touch that one.  Anyway, moving on.   Let’s do something unusual for Swole Ear—focus on the music.

Moonbeams is decent.  It’s also its own worst enemy.  There are plenty of solid tracks on this record.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of not-solid tracks as well, which doesn’t make any sense to me because they don’t need to be there!  There are fifteen songs on Moonbeams, which clocks in at close to an hour in length.  This record really could have benefitted from a few cuts.

There really is enough material on Moonbeams to put together one hell of an indie-pop record.  It starts out strongly enough, with the (slightly misleading) electronic Young Sensualists, and keeps going with the good stuff for a few songs, but the middle of the record is a dry, desolate, uncreative, boring stretch.  From Your Girlfriend’s Car through Yucatan Gold—a stretch of four songs—there isn’t too much good to say. Cutting these songs could have made the album a lot stronger, and kept it within the acceptable album length range too.  Hell, even reorganizing the song layout could have helped—it’s hard not to take notice when that many bad songs hit you in a row.

That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of awesome throughout Moonbeams, though.  When Throw Me the Statue (oh lord) are on their A-game, they make really great music.  Groundswell is one of my new favorite songs, a tune with a fast tempo, catchy lyrics, and a variety of instruments (from synths to horns).  This band can have a lot of fun when they want to, and that’s where they’re at their best.  They’re also capable of putting great records together, if they can just learn a little self-control.