Drums: Not Dead

    Capture
    Christina Aushana/Guardian

    Like every other year this millenium, 2009 has seen its genres progressively diverging and converging into tasty lo-fi mush and sheeny hi-fi shine. It must get exhausting for bloggers, searching for the latest-greatest group to gift their stamp of approval. Tapes ’n Tapes, Voxtrot, Crystal Stilts — does anyone care about them anymore? Sadly, the Drums, a Brooklyn four-piece (via Florida) headlining the Loft on Sunday, is the latest of those bright-eyed flashes in the pan.

    Well, maybe it’s still hard to say. They’ve only released one six-song EP and their debut record doesn’t even have a proper release date yet — though you wouldn’t know it by the surging hype-meter. Alas, such is the fickle nature of Internet popularity. Keep in mind that the Strokes went to Europe with three songs and became overnight international playboys with Is This It.

    So what do these dudes sound like, and are they worth your $5? Imagine the Cure and Joy Division frolicking in the summer sun (as best ’80s mopers can), starring in their very own campy ’50s beachparty movie montage. Standout cut “Let’s Go Surfing” maintains a dark double-speed bassline with syncopated whistling and handclaps, reveling in its catchiness. It’s an artfully constructed machine designed for insta-pleasure, and will make for a sweat-soaked live set. On the more morose end of the spectrum, however, EP-ender “Down by the Water” pairs Jonathan Pierce’s “If they top loving you/ I won’t stop loving you” croons with uncanny bass murmurs and splash-reverb beats.

    So if you’re looking for some honed post-punk this Sunday, you’re guaranteed a quality (if abbreviated) show with potential surprises — namely, some unheard cuts expected for the LP and hype-worthy live energy. Who knows? Their endless outbursts of sun and sadness could be the perfect recipe for UCSD.

    INTERVIEW:
    Guardian: Besides your most noticeable influences, what weird or obscure bands are you guys really into? Any super popular songs from this year that you loved?

    Drums: I’m not sure which are the more noticeable ones. We’re into a lot of bands from Scotland (the Orchids, Orange Juice). Also, a lot of great bands from the Northwest or early ’90s in general (Cool Rays, Mission of Burma). Songs from this year? “Tonight,” by the Smith Westerns.

    G: To be honest, I had to look up the lyrics to your song, “Let’s Go Surfing”, because for a minute I thought the chorus was “Obama/ I wanna go surfing/ Obama/ I don’t care about nothing,” but you’re really singing, “Oh Mama.” I guess I wanted to hear your opinion on how important lyrical content is with your music, whether you invite interpretation or you want to be more straightforward. I almost wanted it to be “Obama.” Like he would care if you went surfing.

    D: Well, pop music has a tradition of being more straightforward with everything. It’s more about giving to the listener. Nothing “clever” or tricky.

    G: What’s the worst music and fashion trend you’ve noticed since you moved back to Brooklyn?

    D: Lady Gaga.

    G: It seems so many bands are coming out of there, it’s hard to keep track. But you guys have gotten attention in a really short amount of time. What was the music scene like in Florida that convinced you to move back to New York?

    D: There was no music scene there. Or rather, we were so disconnected from everything at that point, we weren’t aware of one. It was the lack of music there that brought us here.

    G: You’ve managed to tour internationally from one EP, Summertime!, playing a show in Iceland and a handful in England. What was Iceland like, and how’d you get that opportunity? Did you get much time to explore Reykjavik?

    D: Iceland was great. We laughed a lot. It’s a beautiful place, despite all the rain. Everything in Reykjavik looks stunning, and the kids that go to shows give everything to a performance that they like. I’m not sure it even matters who it is, as long as that specific performance does something for them.

    G: You’re playing a few more shows in California after the Loft date, but what’s the next step for the Drums? How is progress on the first album, and when can we expect to hear it?

    D: We are looking to release the album early next year. It’s essentially all done; written and recorded. We have some loose ends to tie up but we’re excited to release it. We’re set to tour, globally, through the fall of next year.

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