Connections: Year One (2014)

Just about one of my favorite albums from the past few years... and if you like insanely catchy lo-fi indie pop, and have any affinity at all for Guided by Voices, I'm pretty confident it will be one of yours as well.

And yeah, these guys must get tired of the Guided by Voices name-check, but between the Ohio roots, and the predilection for brief, no-frills indie noise pop songs checking in at a minute or two, delivering a wildly infectious hook, and moving on to the next one (not to mention the singer's Robert Pollard-like habit of occasionally taking on a faux British accent to give the songs the vibe of some great lost Small Faces track as heard through a post-Buzzcocks lens)... well, it's kinda hard to shake. Plus you'll hear bits and pieces of early New Zealand indie rockers like the Clean throughout.

Year One is a bit of a cheat, collecting a fistful of singles, EPs, and LPs dating from 2012-2013; but with 32 songs at the low price of about ten bucks, it's almost criminal not to buy it. And yes, you're gonna think you're listening to the second coming of GbV's Bee Thousand, but that doesn't at all diminish from the fact that the songs are freakin' great. More joyful little morsels than you can shake a stick at. And if one doesn't work for you, maybe a little too noisy and ragged, it'll be over before you have a chance to push the skip button, and you're onto a track that more than makes up for it.

The lo-fi aesthetic sounds like they recorded these on the fly, but the well-constructed hooks belie the casual nature of the recording. Too many to name here, but why not just give a quick spin to "Cindy," and try to convince me it's not the catchiest thing you've heard in ages. I dare you.
Or how about "Finally"?
Hey, how about a quick live take on "She's Cheering Up," which to me sounds like an alternative theme song for the Mary Tyler Moore show in a post-punk universe?
You can pick it up at Bandcamp. Also check out their later records, which don't stray far from the formula of the earlier work; all have a few songs that'll sound like some long lost power pop classic recorded on a cheap cassette recorder on top of the washing machine and have you shaking your head that nobody had come up with it earlier. 

(And if you like these guys, be sure to check out 2nd Grade, a more recent discovery that drinks from the same well.)

Here's the Spotify playlist for Private Airplane, their first full-length (included on Year One):
...and for the also-included Body Language: