Sunday, October 21, 2012

Honeydrum, Stranger Calls / Do U Party?, 2012

Sunday Bandcamp Discovery Album Review

I get myself into ruts.  As far as this blog goes, fanboyism, laziness, and just allowing myself to get caught up in the hype and promotion that floats around the blogrockisphere day after day sometimes cause me to focus a little too heavily on the "mainstream indie" part of this blog's stated mission.  I decided, therefore, to dig through some of the Bandcamp stuff I've downloaded over the last several months in an effort to pick out something new to review.  Then I remembered Honeydrum.

Honeydrum are a New Brunswick, NJ quartet who have been releasing singles and EP's digitally and on cassette (a format whose revival I'm still not understanding) at a furious clip since 2011.  Honeydrum's songs are short, lo fi / experimental pop confections that generally clock in at under two minutes.  Their Stranger Calls 7" / Do U Party? CD EP is an eight-song collection that comes in a few seconds shy of thirteen minutes.

There are obvious comparisons to make between Honeydrum and L.A.'s Ariel Pink.  "Stranger Calls" and "Oh Donna" stack up well against some of Pink's most infectious pop, and they manage to do that while sounding as though they're coming out of a broken radio or, more appropriately maybe, a cassette player that's seen better days.  Following the slow-grooving sound of "Let's Make a Holiday," the final cut on Stranger Calls, Honeydrum's sound changes.  Do U Party? moves into Murmur-era R.E.M. territory with "Girls on the Radio" and "Can't Wait to Meet You."  The lo fi production remains, but the sound on Do U Party? is slightly darker and less reminiscent of 1970's radio.

I've had Stranger Calls / Do U Party? on repeat all afternoon; and even though the songs are short, they're dense with contrasts between melody and dissonance, the familiar and the surprising.  It will be interesting to see what Honeydrum does on a full-length LP in terms of both sound and the number of songs they'll be able to squeeze into the format.

I really have no excuse for getting into a musical rut.  Even if I restrict myself to New Jersey bands, Bandcamp alone contains enough music to keep me interested for quite some time.  And Honeydrum, along with many others I'm sure, prove that New Jersey music is about much more than punk and straight-ahead rock and roll.

You can check out Stranger Calls / Do U Party? along with quite a bit more from Honeydrum over at the band's Bandcamp page.  If you prefer physical media, you may still be able to get that over at AMDISCS.


  1. pretttty awesome that this kind of stuff is going on in nj....

    1. So true. I've been enjoying all of their stuff and I can't wait to hear a full-length.