Smile Politely

Times New Viking become a self-caged animal

tnv1I hope we can all agree that “indie,” “folk” and “garage” are terms that are thrown around far too carelessly when describing bands these days.  Lord knows I’m guilty of it.  

“Indie” tends to be more of a catch-all term that has little to do with actually being DIY or acting independently and has more to do with having a muted and mannered sound.  “Folk” seems to describe any band with a surplus of acoustic guitars that dresses in muted earth tones (beards, suspenders and other bowed string instruments optional).  

And “garage”… well, that one seems to be a little more nebulous.  For anyone that spent their high school years physically practicing and playing music in garages, you can understand how one’s reference points might vary.  But of course there are exceptions to every rule. 

So I’ll go ahead and shoot myself in the foot that I just pulled from my mouth and say that Ohio’s Times New Viking have a distinctly “garage” sound.  

You can form your own opinion Friday night at Courtyard Café when they share the stage with the Blind Eyes and the Safes.  

Not that Times New Viking don’t have all the traits of a typical garage band (that Blue Cheer meets the Stooges with Bikini Kill grit), but their lo-fi recording techniques and overall aesthetic are truly garage. 

tnv2To take that a step further, the band has imprisoned themselves in the garage by shielding themselves under a layer of impenetrable fuzz that is sure to keep away any of the greed and special interest that is responsible for de-indie-fying indie bands.  The day that Times New Viking cleans up the distortion and records with something uber-digital is the day that their very pop-friendly sound shows up in a Starbuck’s commercial.  

Their newest release, Born Again Revisited, has been getting attention from critics who are surprised that the band has yet to clean up their sound.  Since they’re now on Matador Records, many have expected them to fall in line behind the lo-fi, but widely accessible, sounds of bands like Pavement and Guided by Voices.  Cheers to them for keeping it dirty.  You can always turn up or buy a bigger kick drum, but when you start turning down, things will rarely be the same. 

The show’s openers will provide a perfect succession into the eye of the storm.  Starting with the muted pop of the Blind Eyes and progressing into the dirty Beach Boys-meets-Cheap Trick fervor of Chicago’s the Safes, your ears will have plenty of time to adjust for Times New Viking.  

Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is $3 for students and $5 for the general public.

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