For a band from Boston, Louder My Dear sound suspiciously like London in the late 70s. More specifically, LMD sound like late-period The Jam. With his Paul Weller-esque drawl, I expect leader David Grabowski to break into “That’s Entertainment” at any moment. What a welcome surprise.
Much of What’s The Matter With You, Rock? is acoustic-based indie rock, which makes sense when you consider that the bulk of the record was written by Grabowski before the band ever formed. Though every song gets the full-band treatment, you can hear the bedroom roots in every track.
WTHWYR is surprisingly well produced for a debut release on a tiny indie label (Midriff Records). Subtle electronics coupled with occasional horns and strings make the tracks pop. Any one of these songs could hold its own on any progressively-minded radio station alongside the current indie rock playlist.
With ballads like American Standard and Little Boat and poppy rockers like Two Cars and Clamshack, WTHWYR has the variety to match any self-respecting music fan’s tastes.
Friendly People’s debut, self-titled 3-song EP gives a concise taste of a promising young Cambridge, MA-based band. Their jangly indie pop is peppered with hints of Americana, roots rock and folk with vocals that owe a debt to Neil Young. The EP’s clear highlight is its opening track—their namesake song—“Friendly People”. It’s a tremendous, positive track buoyed by a horn section in the bridge which lends a mariachi feel. “A Lot of Work To Do” brings out Harvest-era Neil Young, starting as a plaintive acoustic ditty which builds slowly into a passionate electric number. Closing track, “Branches”, follows the same acoustic-to-electric path. As the song builds, it introduces tribal rhythms that are reminiscent of 80s indie-punk legends, the Volcano Suns. Friendly People are scheduled to record their debut full-length in March. If the Friendly People EP is indicative of what we can expect from this young group’s next batch of tunes it will be a record to keep an eye on later in 2012.--George Dow