Pastiche can be a funny thing: When Paul Sprangers and Scott Wells played fuzzy, proggy slacker pop in the St. Paul, Minn., band Hockey Night, I figured that as long as Stephen Malkmus keeps pumping out decent-or-better albums every few years, my brain just doesn’t have the RAM for a Pavement Lite.
If this is beginning to sound like a half-hearted endorsement, I’ll stop and say this: Sprangers and Wells’ new outfit, Free Energy, makes anthemic, insanely catchy music with a hefty, forgivable debt to your favorite ’70s pre- (but not proto-) punk bands — think Thin Lizzy‘s chutzpah, Cheap Trick‘s contagiousness, and the wide, romantic eyes of The Raspberries. The much-buzzed-about group (now based in Philly) recently signed with New York’s dance-punk mavens DFA, which some people find strange or something, since Free Energy isn’t a dance band. Bullshit. I’m shimmying in my desk chair just writing about these guys. What they lack in originality (plus ça change… and all that), they more than make up for with insistent songwriting, strutting rhythms, and insane hooks.
Free Energy brings its old-is-new-again rock to the Black Cat backstage tomorrow, and the show, also with Bear In Heaven and D.C.’s BLDGS, is well worth your $10. Unless, of course, you’re set on getting your Gossip Girl on with Cobra Starship instead.
This blog has already covered Free Energy’s self-titled single, so check out the hometown-loving video (and show deets) after the jump. (I lived in Philly for two years, so sometimes I gotta rep, too.)
Wednesday, Aug. 26 | Free Energy, Bear In Heaven, and BLDGS | Black Cat downstairs | 8 p.m. | $10
Photo courtesy of Free Energy’s MySpace page.