Quick Hits: Philly Indie Rockers Cruiser and Cheers Elephant

Something good must be in the water in eastern Pennsylvania.  Not only did the city spawn the likes of Dr. Dog and Good Old War in recent years, it’s become a haven for creative Indie rock of late.  Two releases from this May, available on bandcamp, give us a great glimpse into the good times of the emerging bands Cruiser and Cheers Elephant.

We’ll start with Cruiser.  Their self-titled EP has a west coast rock feel.  The overall sound is catchy.  It doesn’t really sound like the city that gave us Rocky Balboa.  They are consistent, for sure.  The mixture of heavy beats and ambient vocals over twangy guitars create a perfect Indie rock sound.  The vocals are good throughout the album.  We’re pretty sure the best track on the album is “Moving to Neptune.”  Not only does the title resonate with me, it has the right kind of vibe to it.  It just feels like summer.  If I were making a mixtape for summer 2012, this track would lead it off.  “Follow me, follow you, everyone is moving to… Neptune.”

Cheers Elephant are really good.  They have a comprehensive, full sound that is exciting and fun.  You get the sense immediately that their show would be incredible live.  The vocals are better than you’d expect for this style of loose rock.  I don’t think anyone else has ever used the term loose rock, but that’s what it is.  Throughout the album the vocals are impressive, along with a comfortable overall sound that will keep fans coming back for repetitive listens.  The song “I’m Doin’ It” has this relaxed vibe about living life as it comes.  The best song on the album by far is the last, “Balloon in the City.”  This song begins with a whimsical acoustic guitar and vocal blending that you might expect from a typical Indie folk band… then… oh dear… the song takes off, (takes flight, you might say) in one of the most incredible uses of the crescendo I’ve heard in a long time.  It’s a song of the year contender for me for its pleasure, its whimsy, and its sheer complexity.  Enjoy.

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