Blame it on the Mad Men if you want, but all of a sudden class and style are coming back into vogue in music. With acts like Mayer Hawthorne, Fitz and The Tantrums and Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings bringing 60′s soul back into the groove, it’s high time that the dudes of 90026 pack away the neon nikes and tank tops and put on a fucking shirt before they pick up their dates.
I don’t think I’m alone when I say I ache for songs with style and romance and panache. Sure, I love to dance to some synthy piece of candy floss every now and then, but when I go back to my vinyl collection…when I have an actual visceral connection to a piece of music, I’m usually not thinking of waving a glow stick in the air when I’m hearing it.
I’m not saying all music has to be as classy as the sounds that came from the Brill Building.
But tricks are for kids (and MGMT, apparently) and those who hang around in what looks like their pajamas, are seriously being shown up by the style and grace of the new crop of crooners we have coming up.
When Findlay Brown saunters onstage in a sharp suit and sings heartfelt love songs, the only thing the thing the dirty hipster to my left is gonna be pulling that evening is the un-tied laces on his dunks.
It’s very subtle, the power of suggestion. Just a phrase, a stride, a note, it can all really color your view, your mood, your opinion. That’s what music does. For instance, Findlay’s songs give off the air of a scotch and soda…or something in a high ball glass. You get the feeling that your going to be taken out and treated well. The white wall tires have been armoralled and that a steakhouse is involved. There’s a commitment there. There’s an intention. There’s thought and feeling and carbonation.
The other guy? Red bull and vodka guy? I’d probably end up having to take a cab home after he puked on my shoes.
Class. It works.
Enter The Hounds Below. A new outfit headed by Von Bondies frontman Jason Stollsteimer, the young, good looking band is another throwback to roadhouse rock and roll with Roy Orbison warbles.
At first it might seem strange that Mister VB would choose this as his next musical adventure, but if you think of his vocal quality and then think of Orbison in ‘Crying’, added with Stollsteimer’s Detroit Rock City roots, it makes perfect fucking sense.
A quick moving set at Spaceland last night, only their 16th live show ever, showed enormous promise.
In Silverlake, the land of apathy and uber cool, The Hounds had people toe tapping, twisting and dare I say, jitterbugging.You have no idea how much this means. I don’t think Jason realizes how much this meant. In other parts of the country, when a band plays good music, I’m pretty sure the people in the audience dance. In industry laden, hipster haunts in LA, it isn’t often so. To see what might of been a lindy hop (?) styled couples dance going on tickled me and I felt the need to explain this to the band. “You are making an impact. You are warming the cockles. Cockles are being warmed. Encore!”
I tried to beam a Blue Velvet styled Bat signal out to David Lynch, who seems comfortable doing the weather report currently, but when he gets a hold of this EP, he will undoubtedly be inspired to write and direct another twisted highway tale of love and immorality. I think he has his bar band cast.
Two cool and unexpected covers layered into the set were a lilting Wall Of Sound styled version of the Pixies ‘Where Is My Mind’ and The Animals’ hit ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’.
Stand out tracks to get you in the righteous twangy mood such as ‘Crawling Back To You” and the stomper ‘She’s Alchemy’ can be found on their Myspace site.
I highly recommend taking in their set. It will take you back to another era, one where the boys dance with the girls and people say what they mean and mean what they say.
Okay, maybe that does sound like an alternate universe. Someone put a call into David Lynch.
The Hounds Below are currently opening for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and will be showcasing at SXSW. For dates, visit: