Streetcar is an indie/alt-rock trio based out of Chicago, Illinois. Patrick Littlewood sings the lead and plays guitar; Andrew Sheriff lays down the rhythm on drums and Ben Vondersaar plays the bass. The band enjoys blending genre styles, creating good catchy hooks to come up with an eclectic sound that’s all their own. They’ve been likened to Vampire Weekend, Talking Heads, Soundgarden, Blur and Arctic Monkeys. Their debut EP Homan Gardens was recorded in a big empty warehouse room the band rented from a few friends – they affectionally call it “Homan Gardens.” Their focus for the EP was to have a “natural” sound, so they recorded their songs completely live in just one day with vocals overdubbed at a different time. No artificial reverb effects were used, so what you hear comes from the band strategically placing mics around the warehouse. I think you’ll enjoy these guys a lot. In the meantime, a second EP is in the works.
From the moment “Drama-Free Life” starts up you can unmistakably hear that sweet, echoey sound of a large performance space. And whatever way they set up their mics, they did it justice for sure. There is a heavy bassy-ness to the band’s overall deliverance, but all their instruments come through clear as well as the vocals. Nice! I loved the way “I Belong to You” begins with a short guitar interlude, then rocks out for a bit and then the trio falls back into this trippy, sludge rock-anthem screaming style. This tune kind of reminds me of a few bands meshed together, namely Nirvana, Meat Puppets and Blur. “I Wish I Were a Songwriter” begins with a few clicks of the drum sticks and goes into a style that’s lighter and poppier in a post-hippie, Blind Melon, kind of way. At other times, I thought the sound of the instruments made me think of the older style of Trip Shakespeare meeting up with Weezer. Overall, a great live number.
“The One That Got Away” has a great groove and funk to it, highly danceable I’d say. The bass lines are fantastic and the change up from clean guitar to distorted was seamless. The highlight was the ending lyrics where the band slows down for a bit.
“Butterfingers” features an awesome off beat rhythm and something I don’t hear much from these days – bending guitar strings a la the tremolo bar. This song’s style is jazzy and light, trippy and upbeat but it also has this structured, intellectual and college radio feel to it – like something from 10,000 Maniacs (when Natalie Merchant was in the band), Talking Heads or another “nerdy” type band like those. This last number was by far my favorite because I liked the way it was written musically but also the way the trio spaced out the words to just playing their instruments.
Overall, this band has great potential with a terrific live sound and it shows on their debut.
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