Look. I'm the first to admit that when I google a band and see a handful of links that include spin.com and pitchfork.com, I'm more likely to start eating meat again than I am to buy a record. It burns that deep. It's not hipster resentment or anything like that; I just see those two rags as good filters for stuff I don't need to pay attention to.
Too much? Maybe.
I could have started out talking about how the only things I know about Baltimore are: The Wire takes place there; I lost more than one skateboard there; I was punched in the face five separate times there; G.I. made funny comments about skinheads from there; Dan Deacon and Double Dagger are from there.
I'm sure Baltimorites would be pissed at me. They should be. I missed a lot. I always thought we were friends, or maybe estranged cousins. Truth is I dig that city. I felt bad for it, in a way. It existed in D.C.'s shadow for too long. Cal Ripken, anyone?
The Charm City's quartet of Denny Bowen, Dan Frome, Sam Garrett, and Bret Lanahan (Yes, Bowen of this band you may have heard of) does successfully what many bands fail at: being interesting and relevant while resurrecting that 90s sound that we've all grown to love. So they're influenced by Nirvana, who isn't? It's feedback and riff heavy, but it strips away all the marketing zeal that's taken place over the past two decades and replaces it with a self-generated reverence for simple rock. The music swims through waves of abrasive noisiness but wraps it in catchy hooks that leave your head wondering what continent you're on. It drips with that Pacific Northwest feeling, but it Baltimorizes it, adding some crazy, tweaked vocals and muddy guitars. You can head bang and bounce all at the same time. With two albums under their belt, S/T and Super Vague, these cats have found a way to weave in a revitalized aesthetic that you could only find by digging through your tape drawer. Oddly poppy, fantastically brash. It's like they took the textbook of indie-rock, carved out the center and found those juicy morsels, chewed 'em up and put the book back on the shelf. Hopefully you find it before the roaches and ants do (oh, wait. I already mentioned spin).
Simple: This is good. Total Fest and Missoula are damn lucky to have them. It's the stuff your pants and socks want. Eat, drink, be merry.