Little Bombs
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Little Bombs

Upton, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Upton, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock

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When beloved Minnesota power-poppers Sing It Loud fractured in 2010 under the weight of creative differences, most fans kept their eyes out for lead singer Pat Brown’s next move. Meanwhile, guitarist Kieren Smith, an equal creative force in that project, seems to have quickly slipped off the radar. Now, following a brief dalliance with solo acoustic recording and a move to New York City, Smith has put together another band, Little Bombs, with Take Cover drummer Derek Johnson, and it’s clear from their self-titled debut that the time out of the spotlight was trying.
Smith has always evinced a gift for strong melodic chops, but he’s dialed down the volume on his pop moves here a smidge; everything on Little Bombs is a touch darker, a bit roughed up, a little less obvious than anything Sing It Loud attempted. It’s a move that suits his voice, more demure and shaded than Brown’s boisterous, nasal presence. If Sing It Loud were a power-pop band of the 2008 neon vintage, Little Bombs bears much more in common with the term’s progenitors, refugees from an alternate universe where The Posies towered over Nirvana and Material Issue’s International Pop Overthrow truly became one. “Deal With The Devil” splits the difference between Weezer’s Blue Album and Better Than Ezra’s Deluxe; lead single “Don’t Walk My Way” is the sad cousin of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “We Are The Normal”.
Credit producer Ed Ackerson (who clearly knows this territory well, having been around this block once or twice with his own experimental-pop group Polara) for both coaxing measured, nuanced performances out of Smith and Johnson and for the album’s well-worn feel, all chunky drums, scuzzed-up guitars and thick-but-crisp basslines. (Those basslines, uncredited in the band’s bio, are particularly exceptional throughout, often carrying the melody through middle eights and prechoruses). It’s not at all perfected — the cymbals in “Watch You Go”’s chorus mash together into some weird, phased distraction, for one — but the upsides of the approach far outweigh the drawbacks. There’s a super-satisfying feel to the whole affair, a pleasant organic sillage that’s doubly refreshing when contrasted with the robotic, hyper-precise impersonal sheen that seems to have infected so much guitar pop as of late. Imperfect pop forever!
Besides, the shaggy sounds tie together well with Smith’s emotional bent through much of the album, full of frayed edges, sometimes antic and sometimes listless but always a little bit desperate. Smith spends “Feel This”’ three minutes kicking against the pricks, pleading “I don’t wanna feel this anymore // I don’t wanna feel things anymore,” a tempter tantrum over Buffalo Tom-style aggro-jangle guitars. “Cold Winter” takes the Minneapolis natives’ literal surroundings and lays across them a similarly frigid emotional landscape. And goosebump-raising album closer “Grass”’ finds Smith trying to talk himself into hope, spitting a “when everyone around // is rotten to the bone // I’m waiting for the green grass to grow” chorus into the existential void, struggling not to give in to giving up. It’s a fight Smith doesn’t seem at all sure he’ll win; there’s tremendous beauty in his frailty, made tangible by a gorgeous high harmony vocal. Little Bombs would be an agonizing listen if the melodies weren’t so uniformly sparkling.
The concept of bands “maturing” seems to be all the rage right now, as every one-time neon act makes the exact same mad rush towards Tom Petty-style Americana and its concomitant aura of authenticity under the auspices of originality, motive utterly transparent, in what mostly seems like a craven stab at some sort of cultural legitimacy. But soul can’t be faked, and authenticity isn’t something to be sought out; the act of seeking it utterly negates the results. Smith seems to understand that the solution to the riddle isn’t in building a persona up, it’s in letting the guard down. Little Bombs is the real deal, the sound of life’s sudden - Property of Zack


Little Bombs (ft. Kieren Smith from Sing It Loud) released their debut self-titled album just a few days ago. Kieren was kind enough to write up a Track-By-Track guide behind each of the songs on the album for fans. You can buy the album here and check out the band’s Facebook page here. Read up on it below and enjoy! - Property of Zack


Check out an exclusive stream of Little Bombs' self-titled debut, which is out today! Little Bombs is the new project of former Sing It Loud guitarist Kieren Smith. You can snag the album at littlebombs.com or via iTunes. - Alternative Press


Even though pop-punk outfit Sing It Loud broke up in late 2010, that didn't stop the members from pursuing other musical ventures. After self-releasing a solo EP, guitarist Kieren Smith has started a new band by the name of Little Bombs. Head to their AP profile to stream their first song, "Nickels and Dimes," and be on the look out for their upcoming EP produced by Ed Ackerson. - Absolutepunk


Discography

"Little Bombs" - LP
October 4, 2011
Produced by Ed Ackerson

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Bio

Little Bombs is a band inspired by the legendary alternative rock scene of their hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota. Formed in the fall of 2010 by good friends Kieren Smith and Derek Johnson, these guys believe in real, honest music that listeners can relate to at a visceral level - much like their Twin Cities predecessors.

And while the duo's last names may be common, the music on their self-titled debut album is not - with a sound drawing inspiration from The Replacements and early Weezer. The record was produced by hometown hero Ed Ackerson at flowers studio, another nod to their Minneapolis roots.

Currently the pair is playing anywhere and everywhere they can. After all, for these down-to-earth Minnesota guys, they don't care how long it takes - it's all about making one fan at a time.