Folks, I like to think of myself as a moral man. I don’t commit mass murders. I visit my grandparents on occasion for a hearty conversation. But when White Crosses, the new record from rock group Against Me!, leaked, I found myself beset by demons. Evil, piracy-advocating demons with names like Michael_Jackson_Jordan and ZachLeg. Oh, but I fought them but good. “Leave me be!” I cried. “I am a man who appreciates physical releases AND compensating artists for their work!” One day at a time, I will fight this temptation. Surely, the Internet can be used for good too, right?
One group that strictly uses the Internet (FACT: It’s a series of tubes!) for good is indie rock dancemeisters Ludlow Lions. Last year, the group released No Stories online for a pay-what-you-feel-like price. Donations are charity! Charity is something religious groups enjoy besides war and white elephant sales! The name itself is probably a reference to the charitable organization from
The group specializes in smooth, catchy, danceable pop tunes, like Maritime or a less spastic Dismemberment Plan. Opener “Keyboard Teeth” kicks off with a rough guitar part before a cascading melody pulls it into dreamier territory. Drummer Adam Cristgau’s punky percussion on “Scopes Climbs a Tree” provides a ferocity that blends well with the ambient orchestration. Same for “Song For Matt Quinn.” Closer “It’s a Personal” goes out on an epic note.
While there are a few bumps along the way – “New Cold War” is supposed to be sarcastic but just comes off as stupid and limp – No Stories is a pleasing lil indie rock record. It’s expertly sequenced, with airy fare like “Treasure of the Guerra Madre” sharing space with more driving arrangements like “I Didn’t Know.” While the group is self-releasing their music this time out, it’s hard to think of them as flying solo for too long.