The High Strung – Ode to the Inverse of the Dude
Park the Van, 2008
Acquired: Love Garden Blowout Location, New, 2009
Price: $1 (originally $14)
The High Strung's claim to fame is that they used to do library tours. Yes, they toured America and played all-ages shows at public libraries. They even played here, at LPL AND this pseudo-stunt earned them an episode on NPR's This American Life. Neat! They've gotten a bit garage-ier since then, but they're still a really fun indie-pop band. A little groovier this time around (groovy is my new favorite word). The hooks are surprisingly excellent and the band is surprisingly tight, surprising only because I reviewed this record quickly for KJHK and never really gave it that much attention. They switch it up a lot and the record is at its strongest when this happens. The acoustic, Dylanesque “I Got Your Back” is my favorite song on the record, but the whole thing is pretty damn good. “Bad With My Hands” has that girl-group beat in the background with epic, reverbed out vocals, and it's another reason why this record is great: It makes the second half just as good as the first. There really are no lulls, and it's consistently engaging. And the dudes are tight with Bobby P from GBV!!! And the dudes staged a stunt where they parked their bus on the steps of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ok, it's decided. This is one of the best buy's from the Love Garden Dollar Sale, and I need to pay more attention to these guys.
Here's a radio studio session version of the excellent lead-off track "Standing at the Door of Self-Discovery"