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"Locals S' come through"

S' is a band named for all of those grammar enthusiasts out there - yes, it's actually pronounced "s-apostrophe." Made up of pensive hipsters, the Ann Arbor-bred band performs well beyond expectations on its carefully orchestrated debut album, I was Born At the Dollar Store.

With a distinctively jazzy vibe, S' distances itself from the typical indie-pop rock template. Throughout the album, the band's sound mirrors a mellower version of Home IV, a collaboration between Spoon frontman Britt Daniel and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst. Both albums use simple-yet-pleasant piano and guitar melodies, along with somewhat-angsty vocals. The frequent addition of soothing saxophone on several tracks gives the album a distinctive personality.

Vocalist BK's lyrics explore a variety of tropes and paradoxes. The title track deals with everything from coffee and hypocritical vegetarians to broken glass. "Rolling Along" explores the emptiness of consumerism, namely that of the radio industry: "We can't control the static / That comes from the sky / We're overwhelmed by signals that never die / Away, they saturate all the ground."

But S' is most inspired on tracks like the more upbeat "Yellow Fever!" which strangely pairs the melancholy of feeling like an outsider with a feel-good rock beat reminiscent of Elton John's "Crocodile Rock." The upbeat instrumentals are an unexpected contrast to the downbeat lyrics.

One peculiar eccentricity of the band is that the members don't disclose their actual names. They've created the nicknames Benny P, BK, Sphere and Professor Sol Solomon. The group has played together in various forms for close to 10 years.

I was Born at the Dollar Store explores perspectives, both humorous and serious, with a touch of cynicism and feel-good moments. When life gets woeful for listeners, this album will simultaneously relate and cheer them up. It can't hurt for any disheartened soul to give this worthy local band a listen. - The Michigan Daily News


"I was born in the dollar store." Released 2006. Available now at sapostrophe.com, cdbaby.com, and iTunes.



S' busts out of Ann Arbor with their intelligent debut record of clap-along melodies, three-part harmonies, and some kind of narrative about the life of a robot. On "I was born in the dollar store," the wide-eyed Plural Possessive wander around the little things--coffee grounds, pick-up lines, Velcro--and stumble upon some big ones--death, love, alcohol--distilling them into indie-rock that's smart, sarcastic, and occasionally beautiful.

"I was born in the dollar store" was written, performed, produced, recorded, partially erased, and re-recorded by the band over the course of many months, in between jobs, dissertations, safaris, weddings, and Michigan winters. This do-it-yourself-slowly aesthetic extended even to their website (www.sapostrophe.com), which the band knitted entirely out of yarn.

The Plural Possessive is a group of graduate students and possibly professors at the University of Michigan who fully intend to be rock stars if their academic careers don't work out. Although this record marks their first shrink-wrapped release, members of S' have played together under various guises over the past decade. In various college towns across the country, they've rocked out belligerently in clubs, basements, and cafeterias, charmed acoustically in attics, coffee shops, and street corners, and performed tenaciously under ridiculous circumstances including brown-outs, high winds (the moonbounce castle blew away!), and, when absolutely necessary, nudity.