Music

The Like Young: Art Contest

Jason Thompson

The Like Young

Art Contest

Label: Parasol
US Release Date: 2003-05-20
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

If the White Stripes were actually as bloody amazing as so many people think they are, they'd be the Like Young. Talk about just getting down and rocking out, the husband wife duo of Joe and Amanda Ziemba proves that you don't have to be lousy with your simple guitar and drums (plus bass) hookup to be good. So move over Jack with your whiny voice and ripped off blues bullshit. Step aside, Meg, with your boring as hell repetitive drum patterns that barely hold together. The Like Young are here and thoroughly burn and blister every album you've wasted our time on with one recording: the glorious Art Contest.

The Like Young are another Chicago group, but unlike so many other Chicago groups noodling with math rock sounds these days, this duo cuts straight to the chase with sweet hooks and bristling melodies in a collection of 11 perfect songs, one of which barely crosses the three-minute mark. No pretenses, no promises to be the next big thing and save everyone with their sound. The Like Young simply are, and in that respect they have saved a lot of people the trouble of wasting time on bigger, less deserving bands by just sticking to what makes great pop music great: true simplicity.

It's what those hipster moron groups up in New York are continually clueless about. Forget the image already, guys -- just play the damn music honestly. But looking like you haven't bathed in five days and cranking out dirty guitar chords is the taste of the day, if not the year. The Like Young ditch this pathetic aesthetic and just play their songs -- brilliantly, I might add. This shit is tight and you'll be humming the likes of "Expensive Tastes" and "Even If It's Getting Late" the second after each is over.

Listen to the way the opening chords of "Nice People" strut around in a Rolling Stones fashion before giving way to the Like Young's very own fresh sound. This is exactly what so many of those more popular and fashionable groups fail to do: bring their own rock. It's just not going to matter a year from now how much garage worship you did by emulating your heroes. Those favorite current hits are going to sound stale two weeks down the line. However, the Like Young hook you with the notion that they're going to play that same trick and then completely destroy you with their own style. Beautiful, really.

And let's not forget that this duo doesn't skimp on talent or singing ability. When I first heard Meg White warble on her track on Elephant, I just wanted to tear my ears off. Amanda Ziemba, on the other hand, has a sweet, high voice that shares equal space with Joe's right-on-target singing. She's not "just" the novelty portion of the band. The girl can fucking rock. And Joe, well, he gets the job done as well. Listen to both of them shred the paint off the old radiators with tracks like "Snobs and Slobs" and "Looked Up". You'll be back for more.

Perhaps the whole Like Young philosophy is best summed up in their song "I'm Old Fashioned": "I don't care if there is no one who agrees with the way that I may think / I like it outside when it's early / I like the air clean at night when we're all alone / I'm so devoted to you, you snap me out of it", sing the Ziembas to each other. And that's perfect. One gets the sense that they truly are making this music for each other and if everyone else wants to join in, that's even better. That's true garage for you, without even sounding like it.

Art Contest is a brilliant, beautiful album that no one should be without. It clocks in at under 25 minutes and is perfectly perfect. Sometimes the best albums are the ones that get in, get the job done, and then exit as fast as they came, giving you enough time to let you catch your breath and play them all over again. This album is just like that. The Like Young are truly one of the best groups that the entire US of A has to offer. Here's looking forward to more great music from this genuinely honest band.



Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Books

A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.

Music

The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.

Music

Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.

Music

Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.

Television

HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.

Music

Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.

Music

Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.

Books

'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.

Film

'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.

Music

Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.

Music

DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.

Music

JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.

Music

​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.

Music

Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times

Music

Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.

Music

How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.

Music

Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.