SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., March 19, 2010
GroomsWave Rooftop, Wednesday, March 17
Paging Pavement: Please report to the customer service desk; we have your children. Maybe it's unfair to pigeonhole Brooklyn trio Grooms, formerly known as Muggabears, as just their sonic kin. They do have a sound of their own, but Death by Audio debut Rejoicer pulls from a very distinct period of 1990s guitar school, where bands like Pavement and Polvo put effects pedals, feedback, and urban ennui up front. The 10 songs on Rejoicer steamroll through a colorful collage of rhythmic dynamics, guitarist Travis Johnson and bassist Emily Ambruso intricately yet subtly chasing each other's riffs without resting on wanky solos or "epic" jam sessions. They're all about the buildup and the blast, as live versions of the stuttering "Dreamsucker" and "At the Pool" illustrated, with new drummer Jim Sykes (Marnie Stern, Parts & Labor) acting as thrash anchor. It's not just noise: Under the squall, there's pop structure, however math-y. Kanine Records is reissuing Rejoicer soon, and, as the last half of one of their songs can tell you, "guitar feelings" are nothing to be ashamed of, as long as you take your crushes and make something new out of them.