If Spoon has the worst album title of the year and Animal Collective has the worst album art then Eastern Conference Champions has, hands down, the worst band name. I picture a guy in a LeBron James jersey behind the mic, maybe some guys in Knicks and Nets jerseys backing him up and a messy kind of second rate rap-rock coming out of the speakers. But there aren’t any wannabe professional basketball players in this band (that I know of), and there damn sure ain’t no rap-rock. But, maybe not to the extent of those other 2 bands (whose albums are both likely to be Top 10ers for me this year), ECC have overcome their poor aesthetic choice and delivered a winning album (no pun intended). Ameritown (ooooh….this band needs some help with names) is their new record out now.
Musically, Eastern Conference Champions are most successful when they steer clear of trying to be too “modern alt-rock” as several of the songs do. Much better are the off-kilter songs, the weirder ones, the ones that make me think OK Computer is their favorite album, not that new Smashing Pumpkins one. Lead singer Josh Ostrander’s voice comes off as a cross between Billy Corgan and Jesse Malin, and for the most part is better than that rather unfortunate combination suggests. They are a tight band that loves to add layers of overdubbed textural thingies over their piano led power pop. Playful, bright, humorous, catchy - not a bad summer record. Potential to maybe someday play in the better Western Conference.
MP3 :: The Box
MP3 :: Pitch A Fit
(from Ameritown. Buy here)