R5 & 4333 Present

Home Is Where

Smidley, Hurry

Sunday, July 09
Doors: 7:30pm | Show: 8pm
$15

HOME IS WHERE

With I Became Birds, Florida’s Home Is Where push their unique blend of whirlwind hardcore aggression and warm, open-hearted folksy melancholy to even further heights. Frontperson Brandon MacDonald’s Dylan-esque eccentricities are on full display here, from the occasional blast of harmonica (like on early standout “Long Distance Conjoined Twins” or the disaffected, despondency-soaked closer “The Old Country”) to their knack for abstractly evocative neurosis-as-poetry. But far from being a copycat act, Home Is Where’s wearily raw-throated aesthetic and dynamically vivid compositions feel idiosyncratic and vital. The bittersweet folk melodies seep deeply into the band’s DNA, adding an element of accessibility and immediate nostalgia to otherwise churning and angular song structures and sonic assaults. Vocals range from an intimate, gentle, and disarming croon to a full-bodied expectoration of the soul, oftentimes in the same song (like “Sewn Together from the Membrane of the Great Sea Cucumber,” which splits the difference between mournful, gothic post-punk and staccato-heeled screamo with aplomb). A devastating rhythm section and nimble, versatile, yet powerful guitar work assist with the record’s genre-bending, which ranges from maniacal chemical mixtures to gymnastic flips, twists, and turns. And yet, even amid the din, Home Is Where find ample time for hooks– the oddball effervescence of lead single “Scientific Classification of Stingrays” and the shimmering, propulsive, delightfully off-kilter late-album stunner “Assisted Harakiri” are more than proof of that. Ultimately, I Became Birds shows Home Is Where hitting an early high-water mark. A brisk record– six songs in roughly 17 minutes– it never takes a dip in enthusiasm and inventiveness. Home Is Where’s inexhaustible creativity and restless energy is bound to serve them well, and I Became Birds is all the proof anyone needs.


SMIDLEY

Smidley is a project from Foxing singer Conor Murphy. His dog’s name was Smidley. He was a black lab mutt and Conor loved him more than anyone he’d ever met. Now he’s dead and this band is called Smidley.


HURRY

Hurry’s fourth full-length album, Fake Ideas, is an unabashed embrace of the power pop’s most charming signifiers — jangly guitars, big choruses, warm harmonies — but like many of the genre’s standouts, there’s something deeper to be found within the bright hooks. The album marries classic love songs with an exploration of Scottoline’s experiences while coming to grips with an anxiety disorder, and how those misleading thoughts, ideas, and feelings can create a false image of one’s own world. “Ugh,” he says, regarding being forced to provide that sincere description.

But sincerity is just as much a part of Hurry’s DNA as Scottoline’s wry demeanor. The Philadelphia-based band — made up of drummer Rob DeCarolis, bassist Joe DeCarolis, guitarist Justin Fox, and rounded out by Scottoline on guitar, keys, and vocals — formed in 2012, and over the years they’ve assembled a catalog of reliably great albums for fans of catchy, longing guitar pop. With their previous two full-lengths Guided Meditation (2016) and Every Little Thought (2018) the band earned praise from critical fixtures like Pitchfork, NPR, Stereogum, and more, as well as more unusual accomplishments like having one of their songs in heavy rotation in Gap stores. “It wasn’t even an upbeat song,” Scottoline says. “It was a pretty somber one. Why would people want to shop with that on?” Gap Inc. has subsequently closed a majority of its stores. There is no data showing the two are linked.

Fake Ideas was recorded with engineer Mike Bardzik at his studio, Noisy Little Critter, which is located in a Thorndale, PA, barn. The album maintains the band’s beloved anxiety-ridden affability as Scottoline leans into the influence of his songwriting heroes and further hones his knack for earworm melodies. “The last few releases I had been purposefully challenging myself to escape traditional rock sounds,” he explains. “This time around there has been a back to basics approach with both the songwriting style and instrumentation. We recorded the album to tape and there’s just a lot of rawness to it, but still with some very delicate and pretty elements.”

“It’s Dangerous” and “A Fake Idea” open the album with a one-two punch of shimmering guitars and undeniable hooks that would sound right at home during power pop’s chart-topping ‘90s heyday. The latter encapsulates the kind of honest observations about navigating love and mental illness that make up much of Fake Ideas. “The thoughts we have are only thoughts, and if you give them too much attention or make them too real, your entire grasp on your life can be distorted,” Scottoline explains. “Mental illness can make you truly believe things that aren’t real, and those ideas can steer your life in directions that can poison a lot of relationships.” Elsewhere songs like the frenetic, sub-two minute “Doomsday” and the sweeping, Noel Gallagher-esque “(Sometimes I’m About It, And) Sometimes I’m Not There” demonstrate Hurry’s willingness to explore a wide range of dynamics and moods within their guitar-driven foundation. It’s a welcome sense of musical and lyrical self-awareness that never gets in the way of a good time, like on the crunchy “Keep Being Yourself” where Scottoline interrogates the sardonic defenses that can sometimes get in the way of vulnerability and connection. “We waste so much time being ironic because we’re afraid of what people might think of who we really are,” he says.

Throughout Fake Ideas, Scottoline doesn’t shy away from that very human desire to feel comfortable within one’s own head. It’s an open-hearted admission of uncertainty that has resulted in Hurry’s most assured work to date. The album closes with “In My Very Old Age,” a meditation on acceptance and change that’s also a joyful blast of fuzz and effervescent harmonies. It’s an effective combination that not only sums up Fake Ideas, but also Hurry and their humble contribution to power pop’s enduring and comforting presence.

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