Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Motorcycle Industry - I Frickin' Love These Guys

Cover art for the new album, Electric Education. Buy it on iTunes here.

V neck t shirt? Check. Flannel? Check. Cardigan? Check? Black-framed glasses? Check. Sports watch? Check-wait a second it better be a Thundercats watch...

"Fake friends will get you nowhere".

That part of the stanza in "Jesse" (not really a stanza, but let's just use that term to sound like a smart bitch) reminds me of that great part in Empire State Games' "Trivial Pursuit" where he goes, "why do you surrender your thoughts and emotions for limited surface acceptance".

You know how I love Oxford Collapse. These guys, so named The Motorcycle Industry, are like a less loud version of them. I think the one of the greatest things to describe a band is youthful, and not like your teen pop youthful, but much more brash, as if they're in the moment but not to be cute, but to say, "this is my hilarious self-awareness at this particular time and anything's game". It's a fun, snotty, awkward, punk-ish way of being when you're smarter than 16 but not settled down at 25. I love Brooklyn in this scrappy way as well. And that's where these guys call home.

MI's cuts basically are a lyrical adventure; there's a soft spot for me because I too went to the goddamn NYU bookstore as they lament on "Everything Sounds Better With". Singing with a drunk laziness (read: off key sometimes) but with a sly, abrasive, self-deprecating wit, John Langan sloshes through songs with a combination of vocal stylings from the Pogues, The Anniversary, Piebald, and a little bit of Say Anything. It's like a situation where you are drunk among friends making silly zingers and there's a sober acquaintance who just doesn't understand that some people actually get funnier the more drunk they get. I love the stream of consciousness in the stories spun, going from description to oh-SNAP judgements and back again without any rest. Because no matter, it's down to earth; calling other people out on their shit in very personal (and yet, almost objectively), specific instances is a great invitation to the listener to come into their world and see how they see in a fun way. The details are alluring in that way that they come so fast that you really are engaged to keep up with the thought process.

The music swings from Tosser's/Pixies type rumblings like "Blue Ribbon" to great little accents like the keyboard in "The Lost Weekend" breakdown, and the four piece seems to feel content and knows a thing or two about melody and mixing up between acoustic-heavy songs and adding doses of crunch here and there. Michael Weiss's mid-tempo guitar hooks and Ben Caruba's sometimes light, sometimes drudgy bass lay into the songs in a nice go-around-the-circle sort of way, like "here's my stuff, now it's his turn, and let's put it together now". Ryan Barnes rounds out the band with some Dave Grohl-in-Nirvana-Unplugged drumming; reasonable volume, rolling fills, a bit fluffy.

It's fist pumping with a clear conscience.

These guys are picking up some good shows as of late, including next Thursday, the 15th, at the Alphabet Lounge on Ave. C. Check out this flyer, with Ryan's chest hair prominently shown. Nice sunglasses indoors at night. Oh sophomore year NYU.

Be sure to check them out at Mercury Lounge as well on Feb. 1st; they are headlining the show and should show up sober around 10pm. I probably won't be. Won't be sober.

Other shows upcoming:
Feb. 18th - Bar 9 (where the bartenders can be slow during happy hour, but the jukebox is great).
Feb. 27th - The Delancey (where male go-go dancers will dance to their music)

Check out The Motorcycle Industry on MySpace, where they have a little vlog as well as 575 friends.

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