Let's hear it for the boys
Heavy Hearts - The Morning Benders
I Was Wrong - The Morning Benders
Weezer and I were never really friends. We overlapped a bit in L.A. and sometimes we attended the same parties. But truthfully? They were kind of the lame parties, the parties I went to when I had nothing better to do that evening than wash my hair. One time I was standing in a group of people and Weezer told a pretty good joke. Everyone laughed appreciatively. I think I might have laughed the loudest. At that moment, I thought Weezer was kind of cute. Encouraged by this unexpected success, Weezer told another joke, one that wasn't very funny. This time we laughed politely. Weezer didn't take the hint. Weezer kept telling bad jokes. It was a long night.
I was once friends with The Strokes. To clarify: I had an affair with The Strokes. A brief affair. Alright, alright, it was a one night stand. But The Strokes were really nice in the morning; they made me eggs. And it was worth it--it really was--because The Strokes were so sexy. And every girl needs that before she settles down. Would I have liked The Strokes to call me the next day? Or the day after that? Sure. Should I have just picked up the phone and called The Strokes? Maybe. Whatevs, ancient history.
I only bring this stuff up because I met this new band the other day that reminds me of those guys. Like Weezer, The Morning Benders are from California (though Northern California, and as anyone who's lived in Cali can tell you, SoCal and NoCal might as well be different countries, let alone states). And like Weezer they're super melodic and extra sincere and have this amazing instinct for the unexpected emotional appeal, the blow to the gut you sort of see coming but are still totally surprised when it actually wallops you. You find it two-thirds of the way through "Heavy Hearts" when the drums kick in and the back-ups are moaning "ohh-ooo, ohh-ooo," and reflexively you're responding, "aww-aww, aww-aww." And then in "I Was Wrong," they remind me of The Strokes--the way they draw out words, languid-like, and how the lead guitar wanders, but only far enough to draw the perimeters of the song nice and neat
I've been disappointed before, but I'm cautiously optimistic about these Morning Benders. In fact, I can't help but think that if Weezer and The Strokes and a bunch of other boys with guitars who blew up big, releasing on major labels and believing their own press, had simply taken The Morning Benders' route with their follow-ups--stripped things down, returned to basics, remembered what it was like playing to a few friends in a practice room, possibly trying to catch the eye of that one girl standing in the corner--we'd still have a relationship.
Buy The Morning Benders' Loose Change EP at their Web Site (also, they have a very cute t-shirt with a hot air balloon on it.)