The greatest feeling comes after finals are over. Instead of falling asleep---which is what you should do, considering your punk-ass is running on Rockstar and Doritos---you start to play guitar. You've neglected it in the last month, and the chords come difficultly at first---not to mention, it is hot in your dorm room. The college will not install AC for whatever reason---a choice that's alienating potential students---and it is making these new songs you write sound sluggish. If not sluggish, then slow. You cannot top 100 BPM, but you've found your voice and some simple melodic lines that please you, and you've called in your buddies for backup. Your vacation record is in the works.
In Bloom by Bats in the Belfry is evocative summer music that defeats the ridiculous notion that music needs to be technical or showy to be good. Basic but tasteful guitar playing anchors the affair. Kellen Shipley---Bats in the Belfry's mastermind---projects his voice as if into an empty gym or humid night. His harmonizers come in at all the right times. Shipley eschews the lo-fi recording techniques employed by his peers and retains his amateur charm in this way. By not hiding in murky production, Bats in the Belfry achieve the timelessness that comes from recording onto tape (which I assume they did).
So what influences are there? Of course, In Bloom means Nirvana, but Bats in the Belfry don't share Nirvana's penchant for rhythmic pummeling and misanthropic lyrics. In fact, the lyrics sound heartfelt and unironic. It's a welcome diversion from tongue-in-cheek indie bullshit, and it calls to mind the powerful Galaxie 500. The music is there too. You ought to be listening to Galaxie 500.
In Bloom first appeared as a cd-r on Rover. Labelmates to Sean McCann and Horse Marriage. Why are cd-rs cool? Help needed, mind cannot grasp the appeal. Edition of 100, sold out. As a result, limited access and few last.fm listeners. That should change. On the other hand, it was fun to research a mysterious band for once. Bats in the Belfry were a welcome surprise.
Get it here!