Thursday, August 20, 2009

little teeth - child bearing man (2008)

"Child Bearing Man", the debut from San Francisco group Little Teeth, was one of the better indie rock releases I heard last year- a few years ago, it would have been called "freak folk", before that term died its well-deserved death. The sound, overall, could be described as upbeat indie, which normally I hate. But I give San Francisco bands some extra leeway, and besides, this album is pretty weird for what it is- and weird is always good in my book. In addition to being intriguingly strange, Little Teeth employ a wide range of instruments and sounds to craft their pop music, making for a sonically diverse album. At times the vocal melodies remind me of Polyphonic Spree or Animal Collective, but lead singer Dannie Murrie's voice is unhinged and raspy, and she alternates between singing and shrieking, adding some ugliness to the sweetness of the melodies. I can imagine that this quality would make this band a love-it-or-hate-it type band; for me, the aggressively weird vocal style is what saves this band from being a more run-of-the-mill indie group. But I could imagine that others might find the same style obnoxious, or perhaps forced. I had heard at the beginning of the year, from a friend of the band, that they had broken up- but I see on their myspace page that they have a pretty substantial tour lined up. I also see that, apart from Dannie Murrie, the current line-up is different from the line-up that recorded "Child Bearing Man", so it will be interesting to see how that effects the band- especially since each member has such a strong individual presence on this album.

Little Teeth - Between My Ears
Little Teeth - Japanese Candy

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