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Posted at 2:25 PM ET, 09/15/2006

New Music From Local Bands

By David Malitz

It's a busy time for local bands releasing new albums. Let's take a closer look at three groups -- The Jet Age, Soft Complex and the Hard Tomorrows -- holding CD release shows this week, break down their sounds with clips of some of their best songs.

The Band: The Jet Age
The Album: "Breathless"
The Show: Monday, Sept. 18 at the Black Cat's backstage
The Sound: Jangly indie pop beefed up by big, fuzzy guitar solos. "Breathless" is a very focused record that sounds more assured than most debuts. This shouldn't be all that surprising since singer/guitarist Eric Tischler and bassist Greg Bennett were two-thirds of the Hurricane Lamps, an underrated and prolific local band that released five solid albums between 1999 and 2004. The sound isn't that far off from that of the Lamps, which makes sense since only the drummer has changed in the Jet Age. The songs are ragged without being sloppy and bring to mind some of the best in the indie rock pantheon, whether it be Dinosaur Jr., with the distorted solos or Superchunk with Tischler's high pitched, enthusiastic vocals.
RIYL: The Wedding Present, Superchunk, Metropolitan
Download These: "Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose," "Out of Sight," "Ride On"
More Info: Band Web site, MySpace page

The Band: Soft Complex
The Album: "Barcelona" EP
The Show: Friday, Sept. 22 at the Black Cat
The Sound: Moody synth-pop that's made for dancing. Vocalist Shane German is obviously influenced by Morrissey, but he doesn't come off as just another Moz imitator and his breathy cooing helps define the band's sound. The presence of both atmospheric keyboard flourishes and reverb-heavy guitars should help the band appeal to both dance and rock fans. Of the EP's eight songs, five are remixes of the three original tunes. A bit odd, perhaps, but the remixes are all quite different and bring definite variety to the disc. "Barcelona (Brooks Harlan Remix)" gives the song a glitchy, IDM/dub makeover, while "Beat the Chill (Ace Remix featuring Raw Poetic)" turns it into a chilled-out hip-hop tune.
RIYL: New Order, The Smiths, indie/britpop dance nights
Download These: "Barcelona," "Sad Note," "Beat the Chill (Ace Remix featuring Raw Poetic)"
More Info: Band Web site, MySpace page

The Band: The Hard Tomorrows
The Album: "Lights Out"
The Show: Saturday, Sept. 23 at DC9
The Sound: Glossy indie rock that could very well set the blogosphere on fire. If one of the songs on "Lights Out" showed up on the next "Music From The O.C." compilation (wait, is that show still on?) alongside the likes of Death Cab For Cutie, Youth Group or Matt Pond PA, it wouldn't at all be out of place. The material is catchy and mostly pretty, although the band still packs a punch on songs such as album opener "Take Down" and "Stop + Shoot." Still, the highlights are the more subdued moments, such as the irresistible "Patterns," which showcases a perfect combination of Rob Pierangeli's impressive vocal abilities, simple keyboards and gently picked guitar. "Darling" is a short, charming dirge that shows the band is capable of diversity in its songwriting, and actually brings to mind one of the year's most bluzzed-about bands, Beirut. As an added bonus, few albums will come out this year that can match "Lights Out" when it comes to entertaining album art.
RIYL: Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins, Weezer
Download These: "Patterns," "Glossy-Eyed Sweetheart," "Darling"
More Info: Band Web site, MySpace page

--David

By David Malitz  | September 15, 2006; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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Comments

The Echoes are also holding an EP Release Party tonight (9/15) at Jammin' Java. These guys have been heavily promoted by the local music gurus of Entertainment DC and the DC101 Local Lix family.

Posted by: Adam Simkin | September 15, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

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