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Hey! Listen! — It’s Immediate

By / Posted on 20 January 2012

The Aye Ayes — It's ImmediateThere are precious few things like a good ol’ fashioned local band. The Aye-Ayes are one of those best-kept-secret sort of bands that have been steadily gigging all over Manhattan for the past several years, ranging their shows from unglamorous house parties and dive bars to beloved scene establishments Arlene’s Grocery and Mercury Lounge. The Replacements-revivalists have been proving that rock and roll in the city that never sleeps can be fun without sacrificing sincerity for commercialism. Late 2011 brought the band’s second self-released LP, It’s Immediate, which comes about as close to feeling like the band’s live show as it could possibly get without sharing drinks with bassist Nate Bliss afterward.

The songs on It’s Immediate are familiar to long-time Aye-Ayes fans as they’ve been live standards ever since the release of 2009′s Bravado, from the wailed quasi-singalong “Black Water” to the fan-favorite disco-infused “Find Pete A Woman.” Production is tight and clean without ever crossing the line to melodramatic or showy, the hooks are infectious in their simplicity, and the fills, grunts and call-and-response instrumentation demonstrate that the trio are clearly having loads of fun just playing music together. The greatest fault displayed in It’s Immediate is that the band put their best foot forward with the brilliantly anthemic rocker of a title track, an intense and thoroughly likable post-punk celebration of verbose angst (who else but literary snob frontman Pete Smith would use a lyric like “That same old self again / However protean / One day, ubermensch / The next day, nowhere man”) that abruptly ends the exact moment the audience in convinced they’re fully invested, and then follow it with several of the least interesting and engaging songs on the record.

Saying that It’s Immediate is backloaded is like saying the “Doonesbury” comic strip is marginally aware of American politics. The first half of the record is mostly slow ballads with an air of mourning, but just after the halfway point thing kick into first gear again with the raucous smash of “Every Mile,” complete with a violent shouts, sparkling guitar solo, and the perfectly angsty chorus “I change my mind / Then change my mind / No promises, this happens all the time.” “I Don’t Want To Be Young” and “3 A.M.” both teeter on the edge of sweet ballads but favor the path of poppy rebellion instead, making both tunes remarkably endearing. And then, of course, there’s “Find Pete A Woman,” the band’s flirtation with booty-shaking disco, not quite harsh enough to break the boundaries of dancepunk. Three years and we’re still not sick of this song. It’s that echoing guitar line and smooth bass, there’s just nothing to not love about this jam.

The true tragedy of listening to an Aye-Ayes recording, though, is not being able to see Matt Pincus’s wildly animated drumming. That can easily be corrected, though, by going to an Aye-Ayes show, which seem to happen on a nearly monthly basis in NYC these days. The band’s next gig is next Friday, January 27th, at Pianos on the Lower East Side (the very same charmingly intimate venue where we personally have shared drinks with His Name is Alive, James Kochalka Superstar and Jay Reatard). For the full concert experience, be sure to order Pete Smith’s favorite cocktail combo: a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon with a wedge of lime and a shot of Jack Daniel’s.

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Derrick Sanskrit has produced critically-acclaimed work as an artist and writer for Nerve, Babble, Pitchfork, The Onion and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, among others. He founded The Pop Aesthetic during the coldest months of his life in 2010.