Not sure what I’m more excited about…a new BOAT LP, or all the incredible folks who helped the band complete the song during the pandemic. You’ve got members of the Feelies, LAKE, Math/Physics Club, Kevin Hairs and Crystal Furs to name a few, so you know the songs will live up to quality expectations…so suffice to say, I’m stoked for both. My basic ears hear hints of early Fountains of Wayne, filling this song in with huge hooks that explode in unison with distorted guitar fuzz; the vocals seem to hang in the air just long enough to burrow into your brain like the best earworms. The opening single rips, and the No Plans to Stick the Landing LP will be out on June 24th via Magic Marker Records.
Our friend Kevin Hairs is back again with his Lil Hospital project, having just released the brand new Welcome to My (Strange) Jangle EP this week. We’ve loved Kevin’s work, plus it’s great, so feels like you should have it on your radar! This whole EP hits a little bit of everything I’ve been into this year, kind of drawing on the San Francisco sound (of late), mixing it with a fondness of Robert Pollard and company, then drenching it in a heavy coat of indiepop jangles. Suffice to say, it’s classic guitar pop you can’t seem to get out of your head. Plus, if you’re in the Brooklyn area this weekend, Lil Hospital have a show with Jeanines at TV Eye…and if you’re not…listen to both bands.
First, let’s take a moment to celebrate Kevin’s birthday. Happy Birthday Kevin. Second, who is Kevin? Well Kevin is one of our favorite songwriters (see Kevin Hairs), but he’s returned to use his Lil Hospital moniker for a quick little release that I missed on Friday. It’s self-described lo-fi twee, but it employs the typical Kevin quirks, like undeniable hooks naturally creeping through your speakers. Of course, they do get a little extra bit of fuzzy noise to hide behind on this go round. It’s honestly like Wavves, if that band was playing for me instead of all the indie bros out there. So yeah…jam these songs and enjoy Revenge of Lil Hospital.
As I’m catching up on what might be the last Bandcamp Friday, I totally missed that our friend Kevin Hairs dropped a brand new 3 song single for your ears (sorry Kevin!). On the “Stay Mild, Man-Child” you get this deliciously crunchy riff, almost putting Kevin in garage rock territory, though, of course, its balanced by his softened vocal delivery. “Knight School,” however, tosses Hairs back into solid indiepop territory; it’s got those jangling notes with a velvety voice hiding beneath the song’s surface; I think this one might make Glenn Donaldson a little jealous. On “Worry is My Love Language,” you get hints of misty surf channeled through the adoration of late 80s indiepop; it’s the sort of song that has you staring out at sea, dreaming of things to come. Grab ’em all now!
Kevin Hairs is a true artists, not only writing songs, but also creating the own album art for each release, as well as other artistic endeavors. Today, lets rejoice that there’s a new collection of Hairs tunes titled Dad of the Universe; it’s the perfect musical gift for pop fans, with the majority of the tracks just barely stretching beyond the 1 minute mark this round. It’s almost as if the songwriting process was like chewing shitty bubblegum. Get all that sweetness that you can out of each song, then move onto the next piece, and do it all over again. “Dad of the Universe” is a spectacular song, twisting these great guitar chords and light jangling around Kevin’s vocals; I love how the mix has those two elements sharing the limelight. “The Who Heard the Who” has this heavier guitar feel that I’m totally digging on too, kind of sliding down the scales in this continuous musical free fall. If you like your pop guaranteed, spend some times with Dad of the Universe.
There’s good and bad with Bandcamp Friday’s; you get great new tunes from band’s you love, but sometimes you don’t catch them until the day after, so you’re bummed you couldn’t help raise a little funds. But, let’s make up for it by sharing a new tune from our friend Kevin Hairs…so now you can donate to the cause! Influenced by listening to the Microphones, Kevin’s looking back at his own early history as a musician with his project Lil’ Hospital. There’s a heavy coat of guitar fuzz on this tune, letting Kevin stay as the song’s gravitational pull with his vocals, keeping those guitars and minimal beat orbiting behind him. Never a bad day when you start with a Kevin Hairs tune!
Kevin Hairs has had some time on his hands, but he hasn’t sat idly; instead he’s busied himself with art (check his pet portraits!) and music. Today, he’s sharing a new two-song single of bouncing pop tunes that I’d love you to hear. “House of 1000 Roommates” is this subtle jangling pop rocker; his voice has this soothing tune here, giving the track a layered dreaminess that’ll make you swoon. Flip to “Clean Punk” and you have more of a rocking number, albeit one that fits into Kevin’s style. The drums have that sort of machine gun snare hit, with the guitars taking on more of a jagged edge. Both tracks are available on Bandcamp today, so be sure to pick them up right now as a portion of proceeds go to NAACP!
But, Kevin also wanted to share a brand new video for his tune “Subdued at the VCU,” which was on his More Magic, More Magic EP; it dropped in April, but now we get the video treatment with animation done personally by Kevin. You can grab that HERE…also on Bandcamp, so another way to get good music and support a better world.
Like all of you, it’s been a struggle, just trying to wrap my head around this whole world we’re in at the moment. Luckily, Kevin Hairs tossed over his More Magic, More Magic EP a few days early, and honestly, it totally changed my attitude; this has been the best week for me. “Strange Jangle” has been out for a few weeks now, but it still has that fuzzy fun feeling, along with a message that seems to be about just letting it all go. “Fire the Choir” kind of reminds me of Hunx and His Punx, only spun through the lens of a fan of pop music; it’s charming and kind of gritty in its presentation. One of my favorite’s on this EP comes in next; I just loved the way the guitars were recorded on top of each other in “More Comforting,” matched by this seemingly discordant melody that is reminiscent of Sarah Records. But, it does have to battle with “The Day I Became a Dick,” which oddly enough seems to have a certain sense of swagger about its jangling riffs and cool vocal delivery…but another favorite. It all comes to an end with “Subdued at the VCU,” bringing in a little bit more rambunctiousness to Hairs’ insatiable pop blend. And just like that, More Magic, More Magic is over, leaving you with a super impressionable EP of joyous indiepop that allow you to celebrate life’s littlest moments…like a 15 minute pop record!
I was a big fan of the Hairs, the indiepop act starring Mr. Kevin Hairs, so when we thought about posting the stream of his new EP, I reached out to toss a couple of quick questions his way. Don’t forget to stream the new EP…out today via
ATH: You’ve been working with the name The Hairs for nearly a decade, so why the change to Kevin Hairs? Any particular reason?
KH: I got tired of playing behind a band name and working with that expectation. I felt like I was getting to that point where I just wanted to write and make music by myself and have something that was more intimate. I wanted to play out more with ease. Getting a band around town and practicing…. it’s too much stress. I love the idea of “Kevin Hairs” being flexible and playing by myself or with a bit of a band or a drum machine. It seemed easier and fun. I’m just at that age… but essentially, it’s easier to play by yourself and being a solo artist seems cool to me now.
ATH: How does Freak in the Streets fit in to your catalog? For you, do you see it as a continued progression from While I Hated Life, Barbarian?
KH: “Freak in the Streets” feels like when I started to be myself. It feels like a continuation of the Hairs, but now I feel like I can just get a lil’ deeper with the songs.
ATH: If you can think back to the recording of this EP, what was the one band or album that you were listening to on your own that might have seeped into the sound subconsciously?
KH: I really love “Crab Day” by Cate Le Bon. The way she sings. The music is batshit crazy at first. The lyrics are just bizarre and psychedelic and like free association. She feels like a modern day Syd Barrett. I’m just attracted to that kind of vibe.
ATH: You and I have talked about this a bit…but where do you see physical media going in regards to smaller artists? If you had a preference, where would you like to see it go? Any ideas on how to shake it all up?
KH: Mmmmm – all of my musical listening is streaming. If there would be physical media, I’d prefer it to be useful like shirts (clothing) with a download code attached. Maybe a postcard can be good…to hang on your wall. That band Rocketship was selling postcards with great art on it and a download code. I thought that was beautiful. I find myself being anti-stuff. I don’t like having things. I like the essentials. I think it would make going to shows more necessary. Streaming should be more shared. That’s about it.
ATH: Did Kevin ever get a dog or find something to believe in?
KH: I used to have a dog when I was a tween into my young adult life, she passed away years ago. HAVING SAID THAT…..I think I found something to believe in. Haha. I believe in focusing on positive things. External things come and go. So I think I’ve learned to just focus on how I feel.
ATH: An EP is sometimes thought of as a stop-gap between album cycles…can we expect a Kevin Hairs full length in the near future?
KH: To be honest, I haven’t really thought too far out about Kevin Hairs. I certainly want to make more songs and eventually another short album / long EP. I’m having fun doing what I’m doing. Honestly, I find music to be fun again and I don’t wanna burden myself thinking like that. I’m sure there’ll be other songs and stuff. But I don’t know.