Last week saw the release of two albums that have been given that questionable tag “indie rock.” However, they are only candidates for what’s wrong with the genre these days.
The bands and songs don’t so much rock as they sit in place, all pleasant and lifeless, suitable for synchronization on the next Coca-Cola commercial.
Wild Nothing LIFE OF PAUSE
Describing itself as an indie rock/dream pop band, Wild Nothing is led by singer/guitarist Jack Tatum.
The band has always flirted with 1980s sounds. On its third album, Tatum and the gang are going big.
The snare drum is something straight out of a Tom Petty tune, which is about the best thing I can say about this record.
When Tatum ups the tempo and gets out of his comfort zone, like on “Japanese Alice,” his band sounds like a good Spoon or Strokes wannabe. Speaking of The Strokes, the title track might as well have been a B-side on “Comedown Machine.”
The shame is that when Tatum gives in to his band’s M.O. and goes full ’80s, he makes a Krautrock-like track, “To Know You,” that is easily the best on the record. It’s a song with space and effortless cool.
After that, it’s back to what you’ve heard before.
It’ll tide you over until the real thing returns. I guess.
Animal Collective PAINTING WITH
If you’re going to talk “indie,” you might as well listen to the band that’s king of the genre’s mountain.
A bizarro trio that loves to throw distortion and reverb on everything, making OK songs sound like a pile of mashed potatoes looks, Animal Collective returns with its 11th (?!?!) album, “Painting With.”
Opening track “FloriDada” sounds like something my 4-year-old nephew would love. It’s all bouncy, and would be perfect in an episode of “Rugrats.”
That mood never changes.
Guys sing in off-key canons, then a random keyboard farts into your ears. For four minutes.
If you ever wondered what kind of music Gene from “Bob’s Burgers” would make in his adulthood, look no further than “Painting With.”
Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur