I tend to be wary about “indie bands” on major labels. I don’t mean bands like the Decemberists or Death Cab for Cutie that become big indie bands before they sign. I mean bands that seem to be plucked up by major labels before they make their mark on the indie scene, and that are then promoted as indie bands, or as “the next big thing.”
While I acted as the Senior Entertainment Editor at my campus newspaper, we had a very close relationship with Sony. Each of their college reps that I dealt with went to Hofstra, so they were always really great about getting us the albums we wanted, and getting us extra copies. Being a major label, there were hardly any times that they gave us something by a band we’d never heard of. Generally, in the cases that they did, we (meaning my Entertainment Editor/current roommate and I) would play a guessing game of sorts about what kind of music it was and whether it would be any good, etc.
One day, an EP by a band called Autolux came our way. We hadn’t heard of them before, so we looked at the cover (which we both think is gorgeous), the CD insert and made our bets. I don’t remember exactly what they were, but we were pretty sure that it was going to be some kind of garage rock revival band and that it wouldn’t be any good. Then we listened to it.
Autolux: “Turnstyle Blues” (download)
As far as their aesthetic goes, we were way off base. Autolux is more of noise pop meets dream pop, Sonic Youth on sedatives, Smashing Pumpkins circa Mellon Collie kind of band, which is hardly a disappointment. I ended up giving the EP a decent amount of play on my college radio show, especially “Turnstyle Blues,” with its heavy opening beat and occasional explosions of distorted sound.
While I was home this past holiday, I came across Autolux’s album, Future Perfect. I remembered liking “Turnstyle Blues” and copied it to my computer. I listened to it again lately, and unfortunately, we were closer to the mark as far as its quality. Beyond this song, there isn’t much to impress on the rest of Future Perfect. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s not particularly interesting, either. But at least they had us fooled for a good minute.
Jan 19, 2007
How weird to come across this post. A friend sent this to me out of the blue earlier this week. I’d never heard of Autolux–even their name is a bit forgettable. Like a prefix and a suffix without a root word: Un-ing, Post-ous, Autolux.
I agree with you about their sound, the one you posted is probably the best. “Subzero Fun” isn’t so bad either. The rest is really easy to tune out.
Jan 19, 2007
For some reason the word Autolux makes me think of a fancy version of an appliance. Like, “the new improved Hoover vacuum: Autolux edition.”
Jan 19, 2007
[…] Taylor at T-Sides gave in to the siren song of the weekly series, and kicked off the Lost MP3 of the Week. […]
Jan 22, 2007
I saw Autolux opening for someone at Irving Plaza and it was an odd experience. On the one hand, they had all the elements of a band I would like (the shoegaze, the SY-like drumming, competency) but it seemed really airless, deliberate and a little dull. The songs aren’t there, that’s all.
Jan 22, 2007
yeah, I have to agree with you there… they have so many elements of bands that I like a lot, but aside from this song, not much of their stuff really grabs me.
Jan 29, 2007
I agree with d completely. When I saw them live, I found myself bored. Although the show was moody and had all these elements that I normally like, I just wasn’t feeling it. I figured it was because I was just getting antsy to see the main band, but now that I think back to listening to their album and such, I can’t help but agree. There’s just something missing, with the exception of a few standout tracks, one of which you posted.
OK I just had a comma attack on that paragraph so I’m going to stop typing.