Posts Tagged ‘We Are Busybodies’

The Lemons

Stumbled across this while writing up labelmates ABC Gum and this is too fun not to dig into deeper. I’d heard a few things over the course of the last five years or so from The Lemons and lumped them in with the usual output from The Memories / Gnar Tapes fam, which is certainly apt. This is something a bit different though. The band’s usual foray into recording is light, childish (in a good way), but also very rough. They don’t strip away the first two qualities, but that roughness fades on At Home. The band gathered up their cadre of friends and recorded a house show of songs with, for and about friends and the vibes simmering off of this are perfect for melting the wintertime doldrum blues that start to settle into the bones and poison the soul in January.

Oddly, for being a live tape, this is as crisp, clear, and warm as The Lemons have ever sounded. Songs seem rehearsed, though the set still has an immediacy that glows off of it in radiant waves. Dogs bark, glasses clink, but the music swims to the front of the speakers like a beacon of hope. In six-part harmony the band works through inside jokes that don’t leave the listener feeling like a stranger and litter them among songs about The Ramones, Johnathan Richman, and childhood TV fixtures. The Richman shoutout feels particularly prescient and this whole set is very in line with his later works that attempted an all-inclusive feel. Split that sensibility with a few Aughts janglers like The Beets, Magic Kids, and, yeah, The Memories as well, and you’re getting the picture. Every song feels like the band would gladly welcome you in and give out a round of hugs, share a beer, and pass out a tambourine if you feel like it. Seems hokey? Maybe, but also in tense times, a little innocent cheer never hurt anyone.




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ABC Gum

A power pop powerhouse emerges from Bloomington in the form of the debut from ABC Gum. Call it a supergroup if you must – the band contains members of Bloomington garage royalty from The Cowboys, The Dancing Cigarettes, Purple 7, and Sir Deja Doog – but the connections would crumble if they didn’t bring it all together with an effortless snap that’s catchy as hell and shaded in with a perfectly classic tint. At its heart, the record captures the best of classic power pop with a stripped down sound shaking soul and sweat out of its bones. While ABC Gum are tougher than The Quick or Milk n’ Cookies, they’re digging into the alluring naïveté of that rabble in the lyrical department. The band aims for the heartbroken swagger of Teenage Head, Speedies, or Hubble Bubble and hits it pretty hard on the head with just a touch more of blue-eyed soul seeping through the speakers as well. Maybe it’s the help from The Cowboys contingent, as the record does seem to have some of their same innate ability to feel like its dropped out of the sky and straight into the crate of classic platters that never leave the table when the house is buzzing. You’d be forgiven for double or triple checking the date stamp, that’s for sure.

The band laces the record with a perfect dose of tape hiss tailspin and then litters each song with a thick dose of riff riot propping up their candy floss tales. The stone truth is this will likely wind up just as much of a lost gem as the bands that they emulate, but maybe its all for the best anyway. The greatest power pop records seem like a secret, having long been a diggers dream for lonely souls looking for friends and lovers among the grooves. Should this become a sonic love letter that’s found at the bottom of the dollar bin bottle, then the finder is lucky indeed.


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