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The Mendoza Line

I Like You When You're Not Around

(Kindercore)

For a band named after a baseball slang term that describes the very essence of futility and mediocrity, The Mendoza Line sure doesn’t play the part. Like the rest of the acts in the Kindercore stable, the Mendoza Line create truly fine indie pop that is anything but mediocre. Perhaps their name speaks more to their sense of wicked irony.


Kicking things off with the glorious roots rock meets pure pop of “The Big Letdown,” the Mendoza Line seem to want to keep expectations low with a title like that, but manage to create such an infectious tune, you’re eagerly awaiting whatever they have next up their sleeves. The twee boy/girl harmony vocals on this track are mixed with a twangy dobro and bouncy synthesizers brewing a sound that’s the equivalent of Bob Dylan and The Band jamming with Belle & Sebastian. Elsewhere “Social Thursday” is a spare, folksy, atmospheric number with mellow, slacker vocals reminiscent again of Belle & Sebastian and even Bill Fox. I Like You When You’re Not Around is further proof that Athens, Georgia has become the 1990s American pop capital.

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Sarah Zupko founded PopMatters, one of the largest independent cultural criticism magazines on the web, back in the Internet's early days of 1999. Zupko is a former Executive Producer for Tribune Media Services, the media syndication arm of the Tribune Company, and a 10-year veteran of Tribune. Her other pursuits involve writing historical fiction and research in the fields of Slavic and German history, as well as general European cultural and intellectual history. Zupko studied musicology, film, and drama at the University of Chicago and media theory at the University of Texas, where she received her M.A.


Tagged as: the mendoza line
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