Filed under: Issue 22 | Tags: Adam YOung, Architecture in Helsinki, Ben Gibbard, Dntel, evan paschke, Fireflies, Freelance Whales, Give Up, indie pop, Jimmy Tamborello, Owl City, owl shitty, Passion Pit, pop, the Postal Service
Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
PREVIEW: CLICK here to check out Owl City‘s website.
Adam Young likes being cute. Really cute. Consider this lyric from his chart-topping smash-hit “Fireflies”: “I get a thousand hugs / from ten thousand lightning bugs.” However, if you do the math on that saccharine gem of Owl City lyricism, it comes out to 1/10th of a hug per lightning bug. Given the size of said insect, I think most of us would prefer something a little more substantial. All math aside, the Minnesota native Young has stormed the globe with a blend of major label buzz and controversial compositions. Check out these bands and get back to us: you might get an idea of why everyone’s so fired up about Owl City.
Young recently had the audacity to claim Owl City could be the next chapter of Ben Gibbard’s phenomenal side-project with Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello, but he’s also said that there was really no musical connection between the two bands. A clear sign he’s lost his mind; in fact, even a cursory listen belies enough similarities between the two to sound like Young’s been mining around The Postal Service’s Give Up for the past seven years. While Owl City has the tendency to suck all the emotional weight and minor keys out of the former’s classic record – instead using it as a platform for sad puppy faces and “good for you” witticisms. Stick with the real deal.
It may not have the same bounce, fluttering beats or the lovesick puppy lyrics, but the vamped-out jams Mr. Paschke pumps out of his bedroom is about as close as you’re going to get to computer-pop on this campus. He doesn’t play a whole lot of shows around Syracuse, but still occasionally posts songs online for the dedicated listener. The heavy, glissed-out beats and droning synths make them the perfect tracks for a night-time cruise or late-night in. Good stuff.
The Cambridge, Mass. five-piece are blowing up all over the place. After well-received releases of laptop pop and epic arena-synth blowouts, they’re lighting up the country on a headlining tour of major clubs. Their synth-driven dance jams run parallel to Owl City’s work in their illusions of sincerity and electronica roots, but rise above when it comes to the size and scope of its delivery. After seeing them recently, I’m not sure many other bands can compare when it comes to frenetic energy and passion night after night. Imagine getting a full hug from each one of the “Fireflies” lightning bugs and you’ve got a pretty good idea.
Similar vocals, along with similar amounts of cuteness tie Owl City together with these Queens-based twee-revivalists. Just replace all the laptop beats and synthesizers with banjo, organs and excellent lyrics, and you’ve got a solid trade-off on your hands. However, they also branch into ambient atmospheres that make for a captivating listen. Their debut album Weathervanes is one of the most interesting of the first quarter of 2010, and one can only hope that they keep building a following over the next few months.
Another group of twee superstars. The Australian crew has released several albums of increasingly computer-based music, but they do not
shy away from their cutesy roots as a straight indie-pop group. Architecture in Helsinki share similar motivations and influences, but excel in delivery. They also incorporate more diverse influences (afro-pop, soul, funk, etc.), which make them a compelling listen and interesting replacement for Young’s singularly uninspired vision.
Blend all of those bands together to form a smooth, bubblegum-colored paste, and you’ve got a pretty good case for copyright infringement. Owl Shitty, indeed.
BY Dan Creahan