Stoner-fi if you like, but we’re clutching at straws here. Within a genre so joyously samey as American lo-fi pop, there is an immense amount of stylistic diversity. There’s the quiet, deliberate stuff, as exemplified by [a]Papa M[/a], the slow wistful stuff like [a]Lambchop[/a] and [a]East River Pipe[/a]and somewhere, on the fringes of the financially viable, the almost direct rock approach adopted by Sparklehorse and Elliott Smith. All the same four chords, predominantly the same pre-pubescent vocal style, but all different.
Radar Bros, in their recording incarnation, aren’t a thousand musical leaps away from Will Oldham‘s cracked balladeering, but live it’s an entirely different story. They are deafeningly loud, sloppy and, in their occasional reverb-soaked stylistic lapses, they could almost be Boston. How fantastic is that?
For just as the stoner rock underground leads inexorably from its musical antithesis, DC hardcore, lo-fi is rapidly feeding back into a revival of the terminally uncool FM rock which created Chicago and Ted Nugent. In another world Jim Putnam‘s exquisite ‘Shifty Lies’ and the almost transcendent ‘Open Ocean Sailing’ are blaring out of the car radios and truck-stop jukeboxes of some mythical lost highway.
Unambitious it may be, but the percolation of this peculiar, intimate music into mainstream culture is surely a certainty. As for Radar Bros, they’re The Replacements of their age. Can there be any higher accolade?