Whitey On The Moon
One of both the unfortunate and fortunate things is that technology today allows just about anyone to produce and release their own music. I say unfortunate because while it's often a valiant effort, some music is probably just better left unrecorded, and I say fortunate because it gives people a good chance to hear music that they would normally never get the chance to hear otherwise. Whitey On The Moon is a great example of the latter. Although I don't live a really long distance from their hometown of Denver, I just doubt they're a band who does much touring and if I hadn't read about their release through other sites who review indie rock artists, I doubt I would have even found myself interested in them.
One thing that's obvious about Whitey On The Moon is that they're a large group of very talented musicians. Although the production isn't always clean enough (which sounds like a stylistic choice rather than a limitation of the recording), there are enough great hooks on this album that it's really easy to get roped in by it. With 12 tracks of genre-jumping music that spans nearly an hour of time, the group brings to mind elements of groups like Soul Coughing, They Might Be Giants, The Boo Radleys (especially in the way the vocals are a major element of the mix), and tons of other groups. One of the other thing that's pretty apparent as well is that the people involved actually had fun putting together the release, which sometimes makes a lot bigger difference than you'd think.
The first track on the disc "Good Enough" starts off with an upright bass and some sort of broken hip-hop drumming, but before you know it, keyboards, a jangling guitar, a flute, and the somewhat nasally vocals. Upon first listen, it sounds kind of confusing and almost like it doesn't all go together, but it's damn catchy. "No Going Back" takes a bit more of a subdued route and makes some nice use of horns and piano, giving it a smooth, jazzy feel, while "I'm Known To Stay At Home" is one of the few instrumentals and at the same time one of the best tracks on the disc. It's got a synthy drum beat and more jangling guitars that are sometimes absolutely slathered in feedback to create a weird little hip-hop spaghetti western.
Just in case you thought things couldn't get much weirder, the group drops some drum and bass programmed beats on the very slick "Bobcat Man" and works a sampled white b-boy rock edge (sounding a bit like Beck) on "Poison Arrow." The album closes out with another instrumental called "9 Cans" and while it doesn't quite fit with the rest of the tracks, it's absolutely amazing. With a very quiet guitar and a very nice string arrangement, it sounds more like something you'd hear from the Rachels, but it's a nice comedown from the wacky pastiche of the rest of the disc. Besides a couple tracks, the album has a very loose and jammed feel, and it works to the bands advantage most of the time. Although the overt vocals cover up some great instrumentation, they're not really annoying, and this small group from Denver has an excellent album on their hands.