These bands came to me from different avenues. Familiar Looking Strangers came to me via email and Crobot came to me the old fashioned way, touring.
I caught their show with Kill Devil Hill in May and I could not help, but
buy their album. I was surprised to find it was vinyl, but it came with a digital download.
The reason I'm doing this as a two-fer is twofold. Both of these bands have only released EPs right now and there is only about 30 minutes of music between these two of them.
Apart from that, both of these bands are, for lack of a better word, retro. They both have a very distinctive 70's vibe, but they do it differently.
Familiar Looking Strangers
This record is short but striking.
It's got that 70's Arena Rock vibe to it, as the band is from England, it does tend to have that Led Zeppelin quality that so many English bands had. The vocals even have that pained timbre that Robert Plant worked with such ease.
The guitar chords are jangly and the Hammond Organ creates a nice base of sound. There are few things better in this world than a properly done Hammond Organ.
From just the straight chord progressions, there are little musical tie ups to keep the songs moving along. Where this EP really shines is that the first song, though great, is the worst on the record. Each succeeding song improves by adding another layer until finally the fifth track is just a balls to the walls burner.
Whereas the Familiar Looking Strangers look to 70's rock for inspiration, Crobot looks to 70's funk and soul and it shows in the music.
The 4 song EP is funky and hard rocky. It's hard and a bit confusing to have those things existing in the same space, but somehow Crobot has found a way to keep them together.
The guitars aren't chorded, but riffy. Drenched in wah, locked into the drums, and tiring to listen to. It is impossible to hear these grooves without grooving yourself.
The vocals are in the upper register of the male voice and just fit nicely over this plate of funky rock. Don't let the funk tag fool you, this band is heavy, thick and they kick ass.
Label: Wind Up Records