28 June 2006
Riff Market 50th Post Spectacular
Tokyo Police Club
Download: "Shoulders & Arms"
Somebody surely calls it pulling a Mitchum, esp., "you start to realize that the bands you're listening to are actually younger than you are, for the first time, and this realization finally breaks the dam you've built against constantly playing Spot-the-Influence"--growing weary of new bands, returning to older records more facilely, giving up on The Latest for the sake of The Favorite. Me, I tend not to trust anybody under 40 anyway, so whatever. I wasn't thrilled to see the Xs on Tokyo Police Club's high school hands, true--not because it makes their debut EP any less spectacular, somewhat because it makes me feel old and a little creepy. Mostly though I just hope these guys actually get a chance to play high school dances and pool parties at their friends' parents' expensive country clubs, make bad jokes at coffeeshop gigs where all their friends show up but nobody buys anything to drink, sleep with groupies only named Kate so that way they always remember her name. These guys need a chance to operate in the tradition of well-rehearsed but not necessarily tight young rock bands before everyone besides me and Brooklyn Vegan sings their praises--they might have already missed that.
No secret I hate what the internet's done to young bands, the voracity with which they're consumed and never allowed to matriculate, "strike while the iron's hot," etc. Tokyo Police Club fit pretty much right into that wedge of ultra-cool blog-approved nervous jittery indie-remixable post-plunk that sounds good on computer speakers and iPods but most cases nothing else--they have the sound but unlike, say, these clowns, they have the songs too. If they tour enough, they'll get a following quick, sell a lot of merch, play some festivals in Europe where they'll sell even more merch. They'll try to write some songs on the road, maybe, but you know what those kinds of songs will sound like.
More likely, people will need another band in that mold to blow up, TPC are good and young and ultra new and not from the US, so they'll be it, and suddenly all the reading and practicing and music-listening time turns into endless touring and trying to get people to buy them beer in bars. This is the worst kind of cradle-robbing, because honestly I don't think these guys even want to blow up right now. We're talking about a band with this effete keyboard player who puts his finger into his ear so he can sing on pitch the counterpoint verse of "Nature of the Experiment"; he closes his eyes too, leans in all "Vicki joins a rock band" type WB teen dramas episodes. The lead singer's hair falls into his face like any other rock star, except his hair's just long, definitely not stylized such that it falls in his face but he can still see through it. The drummer can't play eighth notes on the high hat with one hand, so he has to use both sticks, throws them down really hard, and it's a wonder the tempo never drags. These are TPC growing pains and I hope they grow out of them--aren't grown out of them. Because when a big deal comes their way, all their two-minute songs will become four, all the awkwardness pro forma rockpose, all the high school talent show-ness something much much worse--something that tries really hard to hide the fact that the songs are good, but the high school talent show-ness of it all, the fingers-crossed hope we don't trainwreck, is the reason we stump for them.