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.