Don't call it a "side project." Or even worse a "supergroup." Much like The Divine Fits, the members from the band Diamond Rugs think of it as just that - a "band." The personnel may pull double duty in other formidables like Black Lips (Ian Saint Pe), Deer Tick (John McCauley and Rob Crowell), Los Lobos (Steve Berlin), and Dead Confederate (Hardy Morris), but this is most certainly a rock n' roll unit in the tightest sense of the word. Their hard-charging self-titled debut was released on Brooklyn's own Partisan Records earlier this year, and the band has just announced some live dates this Fall. Before heading South, the tour kicks off with the Rugs' only current Northeast appearance at Carnegie Hall on Sat. 10/27, where John McCauley will play with collaborators past and present. - Ryan Henriquez
"Uptempo" and "Pop" are by themselves two concepts that - in the business of being an indie band - can take you quite far; but if on top of that you add to the equation also comparisons to The Smiths, then the hype can get out of control. Brooklyn's Drowners have more than one similarity with Morrisey's act, and although they will surely feel belittled by such comparison, they should not, because no artists really managed to be The Smiths' worthy musical heir yet (like, for example, XTC were for The Beatles, Robin Hitchcock for Syd Barrett, and The Strokes for Lou Reed - uhm, maybe...).
The band's 3 songs debut EP features the remarkable single "Between Us Girls" (streaming below) which immediately throws us back to the days of "Meat is Murder," with the electric guitar alternating between jangly parts and arpeggios, and Welsh frontman Matt Hitt singing semi-melancholically about some girls' hair length - rather than about how big they are... The edge is slightly punkier, while the songwriting reveals an almost clinical concision (the song clocks in just under 2 minutes, with the first chorus coming in after 26" - A&R allergic to intros will dig that).
The second song, "You've Got it All Wrong," beats a similar musical path, tackling the infinite well of inspiration that (for Brits) is life at the pub, with the difference of a slower bridge, which acts as a breather for the final chorus. Final track "A Shell Across the Tongue" is the punkier of the bunch, but also the one with the least memorable melody.
This is obviously a band with enormous songwriting potential. If they'll manage to write songs as good as these and integrate their influences in a more mature and personal sound, the world can be theirs. - PDG