Silverchair my ass! Here’s a real ray of hope for youth! Podstar is a four piece PPP (punky power pop) band with some chops and a sense of humor, and they’re all high school seniors. The songs are short, sharp and catchy as hell (12 songs in 37 minutes) with enough sonic presence to get airplay on The Nerve or The Wave or whatever that hipper-than-thou station in your town calls itself this week. They claim Built To Spill and Guided By Voices as influences, but I think they’re being kind to their buddies. This is much more Green Day via The Replacements, but with a sober hand on the control board.
There’s some nice diversity, and the songs are pretty clever. Song titles like “I Don’t Remember (Your Name),” “Too Damn Loud” and “All Turned Off” are as rocking and guitar-oriented as they sound. “Watching Your Dreams” and “Something Else Entirely” are mid-tempo songs, but still flash some guitar muscle along with the requisite background harmonies over the chorus. And the closer, “Then We’ll See,” is an acoustic track that features a string quartet (no report on what grade they are in, though). Bass player Cameron Hawk and guitarist Jo Jo Longbottom (are those rock and roll names, or what?) wrote all but one song; guitarist Aaron Swenson wrote the aptly named “Story”; all three sing. J.P. Redmon just plays drums, but that’s okay, he’s good.
The Noisome label and producer Ed Rose are working some magic over there in that other Manhattan (Kansas). The last time I checked under their hood I found Ultimate Fakebook, and I wasn’t the only one who thought that UF songwriter Bill McShane was the real deal; Epic Records stepped in and snapped them up. So before some suited record weasel goes to the prom with a checkbook and a contract, you should cut class and get your hands on Podstar.