Slomo Drags’ new EP out of Already Dead Tapes and Records is complex indie pop that’s a little transgressive when it comes to the rules of that genre, and it’s a record that should do a lot for the band’s popularity both locally and nationally. In that way it reminds me heavily of Elephant 6, especially of Montreal, in its approach to rich song creation, this eponymous EP is five songs of gleefully busy psychedelic indie pop, and like that legendary band, Slomo Drags seems interested in making music to love this weird life to and does a great job accomplishing that goal here.
In addition to the “pretty + odd” thing full of anormal song structures and 60s influenced vocal layerings that they get from of Montreal, Slomo Drags also channels a few other classic 2000s indie acts here, including using big screechy Deerhoof-ish guitar wind-ups and a healthy dose of local funky indie with some Spoon-like attitude added to the sound. Now, if I were to have read that a current band was living in the spirit of these now-aging acts at their height, I’d have been a little worried that the sound in question wouldn’t be as fresh or engaging as it once was, but it takes about five seconds of opener “Going Out of Business” to know that thought is dead wrong.
This kind of music is just as good and just as fun in 2016 as it was in the mid 2000s, mostly because Slomo Drags seriously know how to put together a shitlload of song elements nicely to make something that is crammed full of moving pieces, but which is tight and arranged in well-thought out way that guides you through the layers of musical activity with skill and grace. The expert construction of these tunes leaves you able to just focus on the fun of the album and ride on its central aesthetic. It’s great fun each time you listen, and that structuring allows you to pick out great little parts to focus on with each play-through, as if the tracks taken together were a big, wild psychedelic party that you’re viewing through a giddy first-person recording taken by the band, and they’re showing you all these cool things happening for just a moment. For me at least, it creates a sense of a true, good, colorful fun time going on all around me, and that’s a feeling that it’s been a while since I got from modern indie music.
For a band to be able to create something as bursting with energy and slathered in creative layers as this EP is without things getting messy or completely breaking down, the members of that band have to be each be fully on top of their own musical game and yet still be totally in sync with each other member, and that’s just the groove that Slomo Drags seems to be living comfortably inside of right now. This is a damn fine piece of pop music that both references and transcends the extensive history of the Venn diagram crossover between pop and indie rock, and it’s one of the most thoroughly remarkable and enjoyable records out yet this year in Austin.
Listen below, and make sure to give every track a good once or twice over, because, in a way that feels directly rebellious to our current singles and SoundCloud culture, every track on here is seriously good stand-out music that could thrive on its own, but which does even better in the context of the whole record.