Jeff the Brotherhood’s Hypnotic Nights
Our hip hop columnist asked me just last night, “What’s with all the girls wearing Nirvana shirts lately?” I could’ve responded with a question: “What’s with all the Expos hats, man?”
It’s cyclical. I was a toddler in the early ‘80s, and developed a stack of ‘80s obsessions as a young adult. Likewise, a lot of the kids in these shirts and hats are sporting nostalgia for a time they barely remember — before Kurt Cobain put a shotgun in his mouth and before George W. Bush threw out the first ball for the Washington Nationals.
Nashville’s Jeff the Brotherhood have been making albums since their high school days in the early aughts. Brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall had an industry in: their dad, who was their manager and label head (Infinity Cat Records), as well as a ghostwriter for the likes of Lindsay Lohan. In 2011, the duo shredded their way onto every rocker’s radar with We Are the Champions. The album’s title was cocky, and the songs were hard, fast and concise.
Hypnotic Nights is a very different record. There’s evidence of some stored bravado, a holdover from the propulsive force of We Are the Champions. Likewise, there are trace ‘90s vibes on that record, but their latest is wall-to-wall echoes of Sloan, Weezer, the Rentals, Sebadoh, Sonic Youth and, yes, even Nirvana.
“Leave Me Out” is slacker to the core, self-esteem to the floor. “Sixpack” and “Hypnotic Mind” feel like shots of adrenaline by contrast ― quicker in the pulse and decked out in handclaps and ooh-ooh-oohs. But even these tunes are fed through a thick fog of bong smoke and allowed to cascade awkwardly into minor chords. Just like back in the day.
Now, I’m not particularly nostalgic for ‘90s indie rock ― I was too busy listening to Britpop back then to give a crap about what most American bands were doing. I was pissed off when Blur went all Pavement on us. But Hypnotic Nights brings it back the way the best revivalists do: up with the best, out with the rest. Outright whining is at a minimum, bellowing and ball-sack guitar soloing is nowhere to be heard and they’re probably not shooting heroin. Popping OxyContin? Maybe.
Listen to a stream of the album over at NPR.
Mellowhype’s “La Bonita”
Mellowhype, aka Hodgy Beats and Left Brain of the Odd Future crew, drop Numbers on Oct. 2. Here’s an advance taste.
Local artist Ango made his new album, Serpentine, available for free yesterday. Check out this video, directed by fellow Montrealer Paul Labonté.