We've already proved that the Philly music scene is awesome, but even more notable than the music that’s coming out of the city are the names of the bands making the music. It seems our nation’s former capital is experiencing a sort of renaissance of lousy nominalization, a golden age of bad band names. I’m not saying anything about the music these bands make, but it’s hard not to pre-judge bands with names like Mumblr (bashful blogging), Ted Nguyent (misspelled gun fanaticism?) or Legs Like Tree Trunks (more like, “Cankles”). Add Snoozer to that list. It’s not the worst band name, but it reminds me a little too much of everyone’s favorite button on the alarm clock—just let me sleep.
That said, “Snoozer” is just a name; their music isn’t the kind that’ll just lull you to sleep. Proof of that is heard in the trio’s new album Cottage Cheese, a six song ode to 90s guitar rock. Recorded at Philly’s misleadingly-named Sex Dungeon, the record covers musical and lyrical themes that range from light to dark, in whatever sense those two terms might suggest. The first song, “Big Howl,” begins with a crunchy and sloppy guitar riff that transitions into a mumbled lament on the speaker’s want for a dog: “Girl, think I want a girl?/Yelling in my ear on bad days/Dog, think I need a dog.” Like Philly scenemate Alex G, Snoozer doesn’t “do” people either.
This theme is sustained in the rest of the songs on the album as well. “Culture Swab” is an alt-rock cry for staying home when you’re sick. “The Croup”, Cottage Cheese’s most ostensibly catchy song, starts with call-and-response vocals replete with Weezer-esque “Ooos,” ending with the lyric, “I head up to my room/And commence the endless masturbation.” It’s a pretty funny image, but the muttered vocals, crunchy guitar harmonies and syncopated drum/bass coupling highlight the lonely, splintered nature of the song.
Snoozer, like Built To Spill and Pavement, manage to approach songwriting and instrumentation with a certain angular laziness; it’s the sort of music written while lounging around on a couch, but once it’s played with a full band, energy emerges from the woodwork. The album’s ten-minute monster of a closing track, “Inside Out Boy”, is a perfect example of this: cleanly picked guitar chords and shaky vocal harmonies devolve into a string-bent long form exploration of the loud-quiet-loud trope. It’s a long song, but it definitely won’t put you to sleep, despite the band’s name. Maybe everyone should stick to band name generators, because those seem to work much better.
Stream Cottage Cheese here, and head over to Snoozer’s Bandcamp to buy the record.