Sunday, February 16, 2014

REVIEW: Today's Hits - Sex Boys 7" EP (Randy Records)

by Steve Wichelecki

The 10 seconds or so of buzzing guitar fuzz beginning the "Sex Boys" 7" lets you know this is not going to be the usual Today's Hits release. This monotone distortion then suddenly bursts forth into a gritty pop symphony of tight-as-can-be drums, a guitar quavering with tremolo and a bass line holding it all together. Yes, this is Today's Hits recorded with the live-band lineup, something that, if you live in Chicago, you know has been a long time coming. If you're reading this, you already know the Today's Hits story and the prolific James Swanberg, so I won't repeat that here. "Sex Boys" is the vinyl debut for the Chicago outfit on Randy Records, a four-song offering with Swanberg on bass and vocals and Chicago rock veterans Kenny Alden and Andy Martin on guitar and drums, respectively. For this release, the group decided to record four of its more chill songs, with themes ranging from the poignant to the romantic. It was said that Swanberg's writing style is pop haiku; while I agree, I like to think of it as songwriting al la Dee Dee Ramone: Make your point, don't fuck around, end the song. The songs on this record are superb, and the cherry on top of this banana split is the incredibly vintage-sounding production. It sounds lo-fi but not shitty, giving the record a great old-fashioned garage rock vibe.  Get it here.

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