Wednesday, August 22, 2007

POPFEST Highlights, Part 4: Yellow Fever and Smokedog

#7 Yellow Fever

I was part of a carpool traveling from Wisconsin to Georgia for POPFEST, and as we all piled into the car to take the excruciatingly long trip home, preparing to sort through our newly-purchased CDs for some driving music, it was pretty amusing to discover that we all now owned Yellow Fever's EP, Cats and Rats. Hailing from Austin, the band suggests what Stereolab might have sounded like if they were a mid-60's garage band. Lead singer Jennifer Moore's voice manages to turn every lyric into a cool, confident stare-down. The band's 5-song EP, which they sell on their MySpace page, is obviously far too short to completely satisfy, but that seems oddly appropriate, since each of their songs is something of a smirking tease.

Yellow Fever - Cats and Rats

#8 Smokedog

Smokedog grows on you. Halfway through their opening night set at the Transmet, a friend said to me, "I heard one of these bands is actually just a this the one?" Well, sort of. As the third act of POPFEST, Smokedog actually set out to completely undermine the premise of the festival--never mind that the drummer is Happy Happy Birthday to Me's publicist, Jason Jones--by delivering not pop but sweaty, extremely loud guitar rock. Twee they're not. Oh, and Thom Strickland's vocals are completely, deliberately incoherent. Nevertheless, their cover of "Proud Mary" was one of POPFEST's most perverse highlights (almost as perverse as watching twee kings Tullycraft deliver shots onstage to Bunnygrunt). Here's a rare recording from this most mysterious Athens band--thanks to Jason for providing it.

Smokedog - This is the Kit

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