Despite the fact that I’ve spent the bulk of the last several weeks without a fully functional voice—see the most recent Radio Free Hipster podcast to experience my preternatural death rattle for yourself—I’m very excited to be participating in the GeekDad panel at this weekend’s Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo. GeekDads Preston, Will, Jim, and I will be discussing family gaming, particularly as it applies to our kids.
My only disappointment (other than the fact that I still occasionally lapse into an unintentional Harvey Fierstein impersonation) is that I’m just in Atlanta for the day of the panel, Saturday the 11th. This means that I’ll miss tonight’s concert featuring D&D Sluggers and Snoot.
While you may be familiar with D&D Sluggers’ Tim White—he’s toured with Mega Ran and been featured at SXSW—you may not have heard of husband and wife duo/local treasure Snoot. Which is a damn shame.
Randy Garcia and Kayla Webb create a sort of high-energy, eclectic power pop that’s difficult to describe but easy to love. Randy has long been a fixture in the regional music scene, and Snoot is, in truth, a logical evolution of his previous project, the R_Garcia Band. In addition to keeping their music fast, fun, and indie, the couple also recently launched their own label, Pup Sounds, with Snoot’s new full-length serving as one of its most recent releases.
Coming in at a tidy 10 tracks, Dank Memes kicks off with the dissonant intro of “Heavy Breathing,” a song that quickly morphs into a mix of Modest Mouse-style driving treble and the blue-eyed reggae of The Police. This stalker-ish love song is followed by the equally weighty “Mawwiage” and the alt-country ode to free-thinkin’ that is “Am I Free to Go?”–the latter of which sees Randy step into the role of lead vocalist.
That track slowly melts into the follow-up, “I Don’t Feel Good,” a gentle, atmospheric ballad that explodes at its mid-point in a brilliant, measured guitar solo that perfectly contrasts with Kayla’s breezy vocal delivery. The album’s own mid-point is marked by “Toonami Romance,” possibly the high-water mark on a release full of undeniable no-miss compositions. In fact, this ode to adult self-awareness and overall geekery is only hampered by its short runtime.
But even that’s a minor gripe, as it works so well with the second-best track, “Netflix & Pills,” a punk rock doo-wop rager in its own right. “Play it Cool” then marks the album’s final descent, another thematically complex but no less enjoyable love song. “Running a Train” puts the Snoot spin on an old American songwriting tradition in a truly delightful instrumental, while “The Bridge Burners” slows things down again with a heartbreaking country-tinged song about moving on.
Dank Memes closes with “The Impossible Astronaut,” the record’s longest and, at times, sparsest selection. Anywhere else it would’ve felt out of place, almost too big, but it manages to sharpen Dank Memes to a meaningful, weighty point with its blend of acid rock and arthouse jazz. Suffice it to say that this one is an ideal showpiece of the husband and wife as both musicians and songwriters.
Snoot is a bit of a rare bird in that everything they do is very steeped in an almost classic DIY punk rock aesthetic, and yet their songs are so much more. They are perfectly polished compositions that incorporate everything from metallic crunch tones to sweet, layered pop harmonies.
All this is to say that, if you like guitar pop or polished (but not processed) vocals or, y’know, rock ‘n’ roll in general, Snoot is eager to serve and Dank Memes is not an album to be missed. Head on over to Bandcamp to check it out in earnest, and I hope to see you this weekend in Atlanta for the Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo!