Friday, March 23, 2012

The Kids Are Alright: Hospitality Edition


Another new band whose music I've been enjoying lately is Hospitality. The MP3 of their self titled debut album, released earlier this year by Merge Records, is on sale for $3.99 at Amazon at the moment. The first track "Eighth Avenue" is also available as a free download. It's worth checking out, in my opinion.

I think I mostly skipped a generation of indie rock. I have to confess that I was never able to get into bands like Arcade Fire or Spoon. I hope fans of those bands don't take offense, because I'm not saying they're lousy acts, it's just that their music sounded tired to my semi-jaded ears.

Maybe it's only because more time has passed, but that's not the case with Brooklyn trio Hospitality. Yes, I could site the obvious old-school, indie-rock influences for this band chapter and verse: I hear echos of twee British pop bands like Talulah Gosh and The Shop Assistants. I also hear the influence of spiky post-punk acts like Delta 5 and Bush Tetras that keeps the band's tunes from sounding too precious. But the comfortably familiar nature of their music never sounds anything less than completely fresh to my ears.

Here's the hype from Merge:
The angular, intricate, and intelligent compositions of Hospitality signal a sophisticated new pop voice. Singer Amber Papini’s idiosyncratic songwriting and incisive lyrics coupled with the band’s rich arrangements on its self-titled debut explore youth, New York, and the bittersweet commingling of past and present in a way that feels just right, right now. 
Papini’s singing has a wisp of an English accent via Kansas City (she learned to sing by imitating Richard Butler on The Psychedelic Furs’ Talk Talk Talk), and her lyrics create a moonstruck, even cinematic vision of New York City, where the band formed in 2007. The production by Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells) and band member Nathan Michel imbues the entire record with an intimate yet prodigious sound, layering period keyboards with horns, synthesizers, and treated guitars.

I'm not sure I totally understand the video, but I do appreciate its pro-New York, anti-L.A. sentiment. I really like how you can see the Statue of Liberty in the background at "Malibu Beach" and the NYC Parks and Recreation symbol visible on the stage at the "Hollywood Bowl."

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