Whitey on the Moon

Disconlandia

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AllMusic Review by

After some global repositioning, a move from Denver to San Francisco, and some member-juggling, Jamie Osborne and his ramshackle lads strike rock gold with their sophomore album Disconlandia. Where Special New Band was an experimental genre-roaming trip, Disconlandia goes right for the jugular with 12 catchy-as-heck indie tunes in the spirit of mid-period Pavement with a gleeful humor similar to the Halo Benders. Osborne admittedly toned down his jazzy, space rock leanings to focus on the pleasures of the modern pop song. Thankfully, his off-kilter vocals, reminiscent of Calvin Johnson, and smart Malkmus-like lyrics are even more relentless here than on the debut, as the singer splendidly tackles whiny tales of sun-bathing and drug use by a gay soldier in Afghanistan and aliens in disguise. With the move to California, the music feels sunnier, as if Osborne has discovered the joys of bodyboarding or the laid-back pleasures of Napa Valley. "The Age of Free Poetry," "American Devils," and "Secret Alien" most bring to mind Malkmus and company, the three consecutive tracks making up what feels like a Pavement mini-suite. Whether or not Whitey on the Moon's ironic indie rock posturing was in touch with the college rock audience circa 2004-2005, who seemed to clamor for dark folk Americana and/or an undercurrent of spry dance beats, Disconlandia's angular slacker vibes and synapse-crunching catchiness saw the band taking confident strides toward a wider audience. One gets the sense that with a bigger recording budget, or maybe just with placement on a couple of television shows or movie soundtracks, Whitey on the Moon would be ready for the big leagues, as the lads certainly have the energy, confidence, and musical chops of a major label success.

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