Saturday, January 12, 2008

thank you by the lashes

A lot of hipsters go out of their way to miss opening acts. This, if you'll pardon my bluntness, is stupid. The sea of tragic openers I've forced myself to sit through have definitely been worth the aural pain, considering the number of truly amazing bands I've discovered, like Seattle sextet the Lashes, who, for reasons unknown, opened for the New Ams a couple years ago. There was confetti. There were streamers. They threw lollipops into the audience because it was a kid's birthday. It was love at first sight.

The Lashes make pop music. But good pop music! It's like indie-core punk-pop. Sex Pistol-come-indie radio DJ Jonesy loves them, and if that's not a credible endorsement, I don't know what is. Their last album, 2006's Get It, is a perfect collection of sunny, loud, bouncy songs about love, loneliness, romanticism, and disappointment that are always danceable, regardless of the fact that I do not, as a rule, dance. There's occasionally a hint at some Robert Smith-ian melancholy, which is fitting as lead singer Ben is vaguely reminiscent of Smith, only, y'know, really happy and with a whole lot of belts. Thank You – a six-song disc that is not an EP, but side A of their second LP – follows the same incredible formula, only with even more soaring harmonies and defiance and perfect hooks and totally shredding guitar riffs.

They wrote and recorded one half of a brilliant album in the winter of '06, after being dropped by their manager and their booking agent and their van, but before taking the summer off while guitarist Eric Howk recovered from an injury and being unceremoniously dropped from Columbia Records. (Why so many people would drop the Lashes is beyond all comprehension.) So, they released those six tracks themselves, and made side A of Thank You available exclusively from their favorite local record store, Sonic Boom. Take that, corporate America.

We at the would-be hipster camp are anxiously awaiting side B of Thank You and the accompanying tour. I know that the band has had some weird receptions in Los Angeles*, but we'll definitely be there. And since we've already promised Eric baked goods, we'd be more than happy to supply lemon meringue and banana cream for everyone afterwards. It's not pizza with Kato Kaelin, but it is House of Pies!

* Like at the Key Club, where everyone cleared out after the ska group, and that one woman was drunk enough to grope Ben, who shall forever be my hero not only for putting up with her as she struggled to steal the bandana tied around his knee, but for putting on the greatest show to a few beaming girls and the backs of twenty disinterested scenesters.

mp3: "Look At Us" from Thank You
mp3: "Sometimes The Sun" from Get It

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