Back when I was an awkward tween — still got the awkward, though I’ve passed the tween — I went through a gigantic ’60s kick that I can’t quite explain. I don’t know the impetus. It really just kind of happened.
I’ve a few observations, though. Among them: About that time a new ’50s and ’60s radio station with, somehow, ungodly amounts of marketing money music launched in my hometown. And, also about that time, my totally rad older cousin introduced me to the music he liked — which happened to be of the classic variety. Being the impressionable young lad I was then — still am, come to think — his music found a way on my radar, too.
Again, whatever the case, in the wake of self-educating myself on ’60s rock while teenyboppers everywhere — my sis included — couldn’t get enough of the Backstreet Boys, et al., I on some rainy day, probably, purchased a queer compilation disc called ’60s Party Rock. I was super into “Hang On Sloopy” at the time (!!!), and the song was one of about dozen or so tracks that made ’60s Party Rock’s cut. So I went ahead one and bought the thing.
Say what you will about greatest hits albums — especially those that attempt to, oh, define entire decades in 15 tunes or less — but ’60s Party Rock is legit. I mean “Wooly Bully,” “Louie, Louie,” “Shout” and, perhaps its best asset, “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells.
Little Boy Jr. knows what I’m talking about because a good hunk of their new one, Local Thieves, feels like it might fit in nicely squeezed between “Double Shot Of My Baby’s Love” and “Keep On Dancing.” (That’s a compliment fellas — I swear!)
“Keep On Dancing”
“Keep On Dancing,” actually, as performed by The Gentrys — minus that lame, side-to-side dance step… — is the song I kept thinking about while spinning Little Boy Jr. I don’t know that there’s much on Local Thieves that’s as carefree and goofy, but stylistically there might be some similarities at hand.
Now, Little Boy Jr.’s a bit rougher than The Gentrys — hell, all the other groups I name dropped, too. They’ve also got a shot of grungy garage working for them, but I can’t decide if that’s totally intentional or more so due to production value.
Yet with that said, there’s an underlying lightheartedness to Local Thieves that kept Little Boy Jr.’s ’60s flavor in check. As an appreciator of the decade, I welcome what the quintet has done here. Most of the tunes float around the two-and-a-half to three-minute mark, and Mike’s sexy sax on “Stalin,” especially, compliments the song’s sock hop affectivity.
Come to think, with all the string and brass saturating indie rock’s eclecticism, the sax — a woodwind! — sure felt different. I don’t know that I’m listening to much else right now that makes use of one.
Anyway, the dudes have done good by giving away Local Thieves free of charge. Use the below widget to access:
- Little Boy Jr., of Chicago, is: Bob Schroeder (bass), Dan Lazzarotto (guitar/vocals), Joe Courtney (guitar/vocals), Steve McNamee (drums), Mike Block (sax).
- They’ll next play Pancho’s on September 23.