Bear with me on this one. Imagine this is something of a “Celebrity Deathmatch” for 2012. And, also, picture that when the MTV show used to air, it had match-ups like Britney Spears vs. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club or Christina Aguilera vs. 16 Horsepower. Your level of mental invention is key as my Reverb editors have told me we didn’t have a budget for claymation.
Away we go:
Lana Del Rey released a much-anticipated LP this week that is quickly becoming much-derided. And, for good reason: It’s not very good. Whoops.
Meanwhile on the local front, Hindershot played a raucous and inspired performance at 3 Kings last Friday. That same night, the Denver pop-rockers released a tight, catchy four-song EP, “Curse Us All.”
Del Rey has become something more than a singer: She’s an Internet meme/whipping post/sex symbol/marketing scheme. (Labeling her faults fascinating, Jonah Weiner equated her with “a Frankenstein monster” this week in Slate and The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones wrote that the Internet is “both her albatross and instrument.”) Del Rey’s Hail Mary for pop queen status will inevitably be incomplete, a disappointment for those who harbored loftiest intentions for her (including herself, I’d imagine). So, why not take some cues from the opposite side of the spectrum? Here are some guidelines Hindershot follows much better than the major label — and major money-backed Del Rey. Perhaps six Denver dudes with guitars can illuminate why ol’ Lana’s getting put through the proverbial wringer right now.
1. Be yourself
The major backlash before the most recently round of backlash (this is the one caused by actually listening to her new album) was kicked off by her “reinvention.” Born Elizabeth Grant, she recorded her first projects as Lizzy Grant and, has since, been fashioned into a big-lipped, walking hipster wet-dream known as Lana Del Rey.
Even if the critics are wrong to go after her turnaround, it’s oh-so American of them. We’re always rooting for some level of Cartesian self-realization. The authentic trumps the made-up and if there’s anything more authentic than six dudes — some chubby, some hairy, some both — rocking out at a bar, I don’t know what it is.
2. Brevity is the soul of wit
Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” clocks in at almost 50 minutes with 12 tracks (not including the bonus ones). And guess what? You heard all of the standouts before it was released. The rest is filler.
Hindershot, on the other hand, has just two four-track EPs under its belt and the songs all deserve to be committed to disc. In the spirit of the category, I’ll leave it at that.
3. Words matter
Okay, I love “Video Games.” It’s a great song. But, what the hell is she talking about besides how hot and badass she is? And, right, video games. Hindershot and frontman Stuart Confer cover the following and more on the “Curse Us All” EP: breaking up, karma, looking back, moving forward, being lost, collective loneliness, the apocalypse (maybe) and dinosaurs (probably).
4. Have a one track mind
While we’re on the subject of “Video Games,” the best track from “Curse Us All” is also the title cut and it’s fantastic. I’m not going to say it’s a better single per se, but it’s a better all-around song and rocks steady. I’m terrible at these kinds of predictions but if all were right in the world, “Curse Us All” would prove to be the song of the year out of Denver. (Apologies to Hindershot for that St. John jinx.)
5. Show it off
LDR stunk up “SNL” and her detached pouting isn’t going to do her any favors on an upcoming national tour. Conversely, Hindershot brings the engaging ruckus in person. A song like “Furlough” bounces between poles better live than it does on the EP. Do yourself a favor and catch members from the band Friday at FaceMan’s Waltz at the Bluebird. Or wait for the full hot order Feb. 18 at Old Curtis Street, March 3 at Bender’s or March 31 at Hi-Dive. You have my permission to listen to “Video Games” on the way to the gig.