» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Hollywood Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
The D4 is a LIVE BAND. Or, so it says on the band's press release. I like that, the idea that you are going to listen to an album by this band, and sure you may dig it, but the music is really meant to be appreciated in person, where the guitar amps can bitch slap you and the singer's sweat can bleed onto the front row. Having seen The Vines-a self-proclaimed garage rock band-last year, I'm fairly certain that I witnessed the most disgusting live band I'll probably see in my adult life. They were that bad. Totally unauthentic, completely dishonest and basically insulting their audience by assuming they wouldn't know any better. The Vines were obviously the antithesis of the LIVE BAND. They were a studio band that looked so entirely out of their element that even the singer's proposed disorientation came across as simply too fucking created to be believed. The Vines had to work at being a LIVE BAND, and unfortunately watching reruns of bands on Letterman wasn't earning them an A for effort.

That said, I haven't seen The D4, so I can't tell you if they are indeed a LIVE BAND. But, at least they're marketing themselves that way, which is a nod to the fact that it's the performance that identifies the great garage rock bands from the scrubs. I enjoyed The Strokes' debut album, but seeing the band live was a total fucking bore. Julian Casablancas' disaffection for the audience was an absolute snooze. And the rest of the band-save for the short, frizzy-haired guitarist that is always smiling-had the energy level of a high school dress rehearsal for Grease (Apologies if your high school's production was really bitchin'). The Hives, however, have got it. Howlin' Pelle Almqvist is one of the most memorable frontmen of the new century. You can't escape his energy, and it rubs off on the rest of the band. The Hives' albums are merely adequate, barely standing up in the current crowd of oft-imitated and same-sounding garage rock and roll bands. But have you tried convincing someone who has seen The Hives live that they are not one of today's best rock and roll bands? (Don't bother.)

I suppose it's time to leave this tangent behind and get to the matter at hand, The D4's new album, 6Twenty. These New Zealanders earn instant hip credit by having their record on New Zealand's Flying Nun (which has apparently sold the rights to Hollywood). Taking its cues from the '70s crop of garage rockers (MC5, The Real Kids, the Dead Boys, Radio Birdman) and hence sounding more like today's Swedish imports rather than their American counterparts, 6Twenty wears its heart on its sleeve. (Like literally, dude. The CD's inner-sleeve artwork showcases a collage of influences ranging from a Heartbreakers LP to an autographed pack of Guitar Wolf playing cards.) And the record sounds good, especially to a self-confessed garage rock junkie. But, while there's definitely plenty of substance to work with on the 6Twenty's 13 songs, The D4 often substitutes brawn and riffs (as evidenced by the tasty single "Get Loose") for melody, which is a shame because the group pulls off the melodic rocker with ease. Look no further than the album's most memorable song for proof. "Mysterex" (Mister X, get it), a poppy ditty about "social climbers" and "9-to-5ers", stands out from the muscular pack simply by default. And as if to back up the LIVE BAND claim, the disc also includes three videos, each typically shot to focus on the band's stage capabilities (And yes, they look capable).

If you're not a revivalist nutjob like myself then there's probably little chance that you're interested in hearing yet another garage rock band. However, if you're getting your feet wet in this trend, keep in mind-as The D4 would have you wisely believe-that it's about the live show as much as the music. If they're near you, check 'em out, cause I gotta good feeling about the staying power of this band, even if their debut sounds a bit too safe for an obscenely glowing recommendation.

Reviewed by Doug Hoepker
A former staff writer for LAS whom we like to call Diggles, Mr. Hoepker is currently laboring away on various music-based projects. He now works in academic publishing (ahem), but is perhaps still best known by his DJ moniker, The Noiseboy.

See other reviews by Doug Hoepker



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