Monday, October 3, 2011
Review: The Main Drag - Simmer In Your Hotseat
Well, no, not really. Considering the amount of attention The Main Drag has gotten for their song in Rock Band 2, it's hard to say that they're a band as underground as my ability to say "you've probably never heard of them." And I suppose they're not my only link to Hipsterdom; I have a few bands that no one's ever heard of on my iPod, but I'm not so pretentious about it that I won't tell you about them if you ask.
This album is before that, though. It's before the electronic influence of songs like "A Jagged Gorgeous Winter" off 2007's Yours As Fast As Mine or just about anything from You Are Underwater. This is The Main Drag's first album, Simmer In Your Hotseat (interesting how all their albums involve the word "you," eh?), the sounds of which can only be found outside this album in "Car Windows" from Yours As Fast As Mine. This album showcases a completely different style of music for the band.
The Main Drag has transformed a lot since this album. Here, they're much more raw and underdeveloped, and they stick to their method of standard-band-plus-two-violins. I mentioned "Car Windows" because this is exactly what's going on in that song, and I guess they had to do some kind of homage to this past style of music they wrote. Most of the music is almost entirely acoustic in form, the drums aren't used as much as they are on their successive albums, and the band is complimented by the addition of the two violins. I really like the way it all works together to make a really mellow, solemn and sometimes depressing sound. They do use electric guitars in some of their songs ("North Shore, Music Therapist" and "Withhold.") but they don't really take away from the mellow sound they push so much in their first album.
The one thing they do retain in this album compared to others is their ability to make each and every song unique, interesting and well-done. It's hard to find fault with a any of these songs, except perhaps they have somewhat poor mixing for the vocals. Though some songs like "Withhold," "Tax Season," "Admit One" and "Bicycle Pathways and Crosswalks" stand out among the weaker choices like "Tunnel Lights," "Famous Last Words (Hitch Hiker)" and "Disappointed You," you really can't go wrong with any of the songs in this collection, and I would highly recommend buying the whole thing.
Overall, though it's different, it's the same Main Drag, and it's still great. For me, it's like an expansion on the ideas expressed in "Car Windows," which is one of my favorite Main Drag songs. Get the whole thing.
(Alas! for The Main Drag is still quite unknown, so I cannot link to any good tracks. I encourage you to find them on your own, or to buy the album.)