January 17, 2003

Choo Choo La Rouge "Wall to Wall"

It's utterly amazing how much good music isn't getting heard. Sure, we've got this whole internet thing, and there have been plenty of places out there that allow you to steal music (honor system, be damned), yet there are still bands out there that are languishing for one reason: nobody's heard of them. And it's a particularly vicious cycle, too; to be heard, you have to play shows and get reviewed. In order to play shows and get reviewed, booking agents and publications have to have heard of you. It's this little indie-rock Catch 22 that's kept a lot of great bands down and has killed many a lesser one, too.

Choo Choo La Rouge are a band that give me hope. I just hope they don't get stuck in obscurity, because they're a really good band who have the potential of being a GREAT band. From listen numero uno, you'll be won over. I know I was. Hell, let's just stop right here, because I think I should just share for you what I wrote about these guys in my journal, because I stand behind my first impression 100%:

Choo-Choo La Rouge

"Great," thought I. Dumb name would mean bad, boring music. Wa-ho, I was wrong!

Sure, there's a healthy dose of youthful amateurism, but wow--there are some moments on this little record that just blow me away. While their rock numbers aren't so strong, the moments where they slow things down is where it gets really interesting. It's a smoke-filled view of the world that hints at a much greater potential, especially if they had a little bit more in the way of production and time to hone their craft in the studio.

Their record was sent by a hand-written letter asking me to listen and hoping that i like what I'm about to hear. I really like that, even though I don't hear the VU or the Kinks influences that they mention, at least not as much as I hear Pernice Brothers and a hint of Lambchop. The rocker numbers should be worked on, and their slower, more introspective numbers should be more of a focus. Love the instrumental work on "Worse Mistakes" and "Defrost." Guess I don't dig "Hearsed and Rehearsed" ad "People are Yelling" because it's so been-there, done-that. "In the End" sounds like they've spent a bit more time on it and there the rock thing works--not too fast, not too slow, but it sounds like a lost Smoking Popes number, which is always a good thing in my book.

These kids are much better than that silly moniker of theirs. Not often that a cd-R release really knocks me over, but I've been listening to this EP of theirs all day, and that's been a rare thing for me.

check them out at choochoolarouge.com, where you can get a few of the numbers I mentioned.

(and i guess i don't like the name of the band simply because I didn't think of it first!!)

current music:choo-choo la rouge!

Yup, that's how these guys are for me. I've listened to Wall to Wall countless times since this entry, and though "Hearsed and Rehearsed" doesn't do it for me, the rest of this EP is ACES. And this morining, in opening track, "Cards," I found Lou Reed.

Seek this one out, folks. Now. Break the evil vicious cycle of obscurity!

--Joseph Kyle

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