Pazz & Jop 2011
39th Annual Village Voice Critics’ Poll
“Pazz & Jop is an annual poll of musical releases compiled by American newspaper The Village Voice. The poll is tabulated from the submitted year-end top ten lists of hundreds of music critics. Pazz & Jop was introduced by The Village Voice in 1974 as an album-only poll, but was expanded to include votes for singles in 1979.”
Sometimes it’s fun to go to a show with a small crowd. Your friends are easier to find. There’s no wait at the bar. And you seem to talk to people more because it’s like, Hey, we’re all in this together. Let’s make somethin’ happen. There is a kind of easy, community feeling that you can’t get when you’re crammed in a crowded room, covered in other people’s sweat and wondering who in the hell is touching your ass.
Surely, there is a place for both kinds of shows. But if there is a young band from out of state on the bill, it’s always nice to hope for too crowded. Touring dudes/dudettes gotta get paid. They need money for fuel and van repairs and gas station Slim Jims. So the more people who are there and buy their record, the better.
The Tennis System didn’t get to play to a lot of people, but these kids killed it to a crowd of about 30 last night at the Firebird. It’s rare that you see a band and think I will now see this band every dang time it comes to town, but the Tennis System is that band. Live, the band is even more vibrant and alive than on recordings. All of the shoegaze haze is still there, but the big drum beat bursts through, propelling the band into something much more tough than ordinary fuzz and distortion. Looking much more like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club than Euro cuties like Slowdive or Ride, the band members wore all black clothes, leather jackets and smiles. It was great. This band might have invented a new genre: bootgaze. We want more.
Opener Death of Yeti was psychedelic without any kind of noodling. There didn’t seem to be a lot of unnecessary straying, no so-called “freak outs.” Just straight ahead, trippy tunes fronted by a singer with a very Morrisey-esque voice — it sounded like Bona Drag on mushrooms.
Sleepy Sun started out a little too sleepy. It was late in the night, the room was still wide open and hardly anybody was drunk. The younger people in the audience seemed a little worn out from bopping to Tennis System and the crowd really needed some fire to get warmed up. Sleepy Sun delivered the goods, but the band made the crowd wait for it. It was a slow build, but this group can certainly keep your attention, even if it’s keeping you guessing about what kind of sound it might come out with next. From the Black Angels to Muse to ’70s rock to even a little bit of alt-country, Sleepy Sun’s sound is confusing, schizophrenic and kinda cool. Truly a band for all weather: if you don’t like it, you can wait five minutes and it will change.
- Riverfront Times – link
Sun., September 25, 8:00pm
Pig Slop Studios The Firebird
By Jaime Lees
Shoegaze is one of the few music genres where being a weak little pussy is actually sought after. Many shoegaze bands fall flat because of mumbly vocals and feeble beats; resulting in songs that just drift off into sprawling, boring nothingness. Tennis System ain’t tryin’ to roll like that. The Los Angeles based band takes the genre and blows it up, expanding on the customary wall of guitars with gorgeous vocals and a proper beat. It creates loud, structured-yet-psychedelic dream-pop compositions that sound like the ringing reverb of My Bloody Valentine mixed with thumping, Evol-era Sonic Youth. Watch for its sophomore release, Teenagers, due out this fall.
A Prediction: This show will be criminally underpopulated. Did we mention that the band members are floppy-haired and adorable? Just sayin’.