The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

QUICK SPINS: Peter Bjorn & John, The Sounds

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 30, 2011 5:30PM

In which we take a quick look at a few recent musical releases.

Peter Bjorn & John
Gimme Some

2011_03_PBJ_Gimme-Some.jpg Peter Bjorn & John lost some listeners on their colder rhythmic forays following their breakout hit "Young Folks," y'know, the song with the whistling. Apparently some people found the jumps from guitar rock to clinical and metallic synth-scapes rather jarring. Personally, we've loved all these odd twists and turns and are pleased to see them finally weave all these different approaches into a tight little cohesive mix on Gimme Some. Gimme Some allows this trio of Swedes the chance to come full circle back into the arms of somewhat conventional pop.Have no fear, fans of the band's more adventurous phase, because this is pop laced with the lesson learned on the last few albums! The tunes are short and jaunty but the instruments sound as if they're pushed through a sound system run through a cold German laboratory powered by steam engines. There's an ambient quality to the album that sounds like humans wrestling machines and (mostly) winning. Analog instruments rule and organic drums drive the rhythm but the overall makes us want to do a Chuck Berry duckwalk alongside Robbie the Robot. In the Caribbean. And that is the best description of what this album sounds like we think you're going to read.

Peter Bjorn & John play May 7 at Lincoln Hall (early / late)

The Sounds
Something To Die For

2011_03_sounds_die_for.jpg The Sounds will never, ever grow up. they are going to kick out heavy New Wave-influenced dance rock until the day they die (and since the kids are gonna live forever, that day is never gonna come). This would prove infuriatingly stagnant if it weren't so obvious that this crew is just so freaking good at doing what they do. There are a million bands still trying to milk nostalgia for grooves only to fuck it up by trying to apply an angry sense of style or an aesthetic overlay that tries too hard to be NOW instead of 4EVA. The Sounds know better than to make this mistake -- if anything they err a little too far on the side of the willfully cheesy with a few unwelcome sonic additions owing for the late-'90s euroclub whose clunkiness detracts from the party. The band is freakishly adept at writing fist-pumping anthems that cross generational lines. Heck, even the fogeys that "just don't get" what the kids are digging can't help but fall in love with 'em. Much of the credit for this is owed to lead singer Maja Ivarsson's authoritative vocals, equal parts Bay Area punk and Eurovision Song Contest entry. When you lay this over the slurry of pixie stix and gravel constructed primarily by members Felix Rodriguez, Jesper Anderberg and Fredrik Nilsson and you can't deny the beat. The Sounds' primary strength at this point seems to be their unwillingness to evolve, and for that our hips and fists are happy.