Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh No! Oh My!

After several weeks of alt-country/Americana winter slumber, this week we return to a more spirited selection in the second full-length release of Austin, Tex., pop-rockers Oh No! Oh My!, People Problems – out on January 18. Blending traditional, straight-forward pop rock in the early-Beatles / Ben Folds vein with more delicate, yet fully-orchestrated constructions – a la Sufjan Stevens and Belle and Sebastian – the troupe of four multi-instrumentalists add a dose of rock muscle on occasion to further bolster their efforts.

The dozen track-strong collection enters with the promising "Walking Into Me," a clean-sounding mix of acoustic guitars, dreamy organ and a bouncy rhythm, all in just over 3 minutes. Its tough to say who in the quartet does what on a given number, although it seems co-frontmen Joel Calvin and Greg Barkley split some combination of guitars and other stringed instruments, while Tim Regan handles the keyboard and organ parts and Joel Calvin oversees the percussion campaign – although their background materials all suggest fluid duty assignments. In all, it doesn't negatively impact the group's lo-fi meets hooky-pop vibe.

The opener's follow-up, "You Were Right" is decidedly the pick of the crop here, bursting in with an Johnny Cougar-era Mellencamp sound, with an added bit of Sloan's pop sensibility. It's brisk and catchy, but doesn't lack much in punch. It's also the record's most guitar-driven product, which ultimately provides a nice contrast to the more subtle approach of the album. The following "Again Again" is more illustrative of the bulk of the project, and it is here where more of the Ben Folds influence is apparent. While not piano-driven, the tune's lyricism and melodic foundations are more in keeping with Folds' catalog. For instance, a line like, "perhaps what's left of me is invisible twice a week, from noon 'til three" could have been penned by the Nashville-based songwriter.

After the Steely Dan-inspired "No Time for Talk," Calvin summons his inner Stuart Murdoch on the gentle "I Don't Know." It hangs on the same fragility that defines much of Belle and Sebastian's work. Meanwhile, "So I Took You" is more robust, which is ironic considering Calvin derived the number while in a hospital recovering from a significant vehicular accident, and its Sopranos finale-style ending is easily the albums' most startling and haunting moment.

The lushly-orchestrated "Brains" and more timid ballad, "Not the One" are solidly-built, but not captivating. But "There Will Be Bones" is certainly the record's more daring effort, pairing Sufjan-flavored schizophrenia with Lennon/McCartney songwriting structure in a swift 3:37. The number reveals a deeper reservoir of vision and ability for the quartet to exploit in the future. In fact, the final verse seems to suggest such an awareness, as Calvin notes, "I'm making art now, so you know – there might be room for you."

Indeed, the group references its Beatles influences directly on "Should Not Have Come to This," pointing to McCartney's Abbey Road track, "Carry That Weight," with the same emotional gravity as its predecessor. And be sure to hang around to the end, as the breezy "Summerdays" ends the collection on an upbeat note, and even its 6:29 seem to sail by, although its darker subject matter presents an interesting confusion to close upon.

Come for: "You Were Right"
Stay for: "Summerdays"
You'll be surprised by: "There Will Be Bones"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Two weeks prior brought a look at the new work of Portland, Oregon's The Decemberists, and we now consider another Rose City outfit in Dolorean's The Unfazed. And much like their counterparts' most recent effort aimed to channel the I.R.S.-era sound of R.E,M., Dolorian similarly tries to replicate the vibe of mid-career Jackson Browne on their fourth full-length offering, released on New Year's Day on Partisan Records.

Frontman and songwriter Al James is to Dolorean as the cagey Dan Bejar is to Destroyer (who likewise delivered a new release today, Kaput): the singular creative force behind the project, and although a talented set of contributors shuffle through to enliven the sound, the output is still largely funneled through their musical vision. In this case, James' lays out a easy-going and earnest motif, largely matching Browne standards like "Sky Blue and Black" or "For a Dancer," albeit with a bit less piano and blue-eyed soul overall. The opener, 'Thinskinned" is very much in that tradition. Lines like "I've got my brother's car for the weekend; full tank of gas / Let's drive north 'till we hit the river, then let's head west" could have easily appeared on a late 70's-era Browne composition, with gentle piano from Jay Clarke and James' layered guitars brokering the path for a highway narrative.

Meanwhile, its follow-up, "Country Clutter," is a coolly-delivered good riddance ballad much in keeping with Browne's "Fountain of Sorrow." The wounds are still fresh here, as evidenced in passages such as "if you find anything I left behind, you can have it" or "a love, misguided it's true, cause it was guided at you; I had no idea what you were capable of." The rhythm section of bassist James Adair and drummer Ben Nugent is solid in keeping the number moving without driving it too hard. Likewise, the title track is even more subdued, as James keeps the choruses simple, rhyming "burgundy blues," "nothing to loose" and "fill up the juke" on successive refrains.

The collection's hardest number, "Hard Working Dogs" presents a more blues focus, which Clarke underscores with some background Hammond organ. With its tone befitting of its hardscrabble title, we hear about "careless spending," "true love's brutal timing" and "a new life calling." From there, the remainder of the 10 tracks settle in to the even more reserved terrain, although the late-appearing "These Slopes Give Me Hope" starts of slow before building to The Band-style roots-rock jam. A traditional Thoreauean ode to the open air, James preaches of being "baptized in mountain lakes" and "towering trees spreading grace like falling leaves." The quintet – which also includes guitarist Jon Neufeld – produces its fullest sound at the end of the tune, which is well-balanced and a nice compliment to the more restful balance of the record.

Come for: "Thinskinned"
Stay for: "Country Clutter"
You'll be surprised by: "These Slopes Give Me Hope"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Building off last week's stripped-down approach of The Decemberists' The King Is Dead is the even more bare-bones motif of the Denver-based husband-and-wife duo, Tennis, and their full-length debut Cape Dory. After a seven-month long sailing expedition along the East Coast – before which vocalist/keyboardist Alaina Moore and guitarist Patrick Riley had little experience on the open seas – the couple returned to their previous focus of recording and performing jangly indie pop. Inspired by their time buffered by the Atlantic waves, their new work came out crisper and more cohesive than before.

Befitting their nautical influences, the 10-track collection – out today on Fat Possum Records – is crisp and buoyant. A distortion pedal can't be located within a fathom of Riley's clean-sounding Telecaster and Princeton amp, while he also ably covers their rythym section compliment in the studio on an assortment of vintage gear and production techniques. Meanwhile, Moore's vocals are airy and bright, while also crystal-clear and pitch-perfect. She's a enjoyable blend of Deborah Harry and Essex Green's Sasha Bell, and makes the duo's sprightly compositions more credible than a more soul-flavored sound.

For a project that includes a stock of uptempo numbers, the album begins at a more subdued location. "Take Me Somewhere" eases into the effort, with Riley guiding his gentile surf-rock guitars across a blues-based beat through the track's midpoint. By the time the bouncy seaside rhythm finally does kick in, we've heard reference to such sailing terminology as "main sheet" and "strangers' lines, clean and sleek." The transition nicely positions its follow-up, the brisk "Long Boat Pass." Here is the heart of the couple's mission, one that's much in keeping with the slate of lo-fi, oceanside rock outfits such as Best Coast, NMT-profilees Wavves and Beach House that have emerged over the past year. It's punchy via Riley's guitars and drums, but remains sunny through Moore's perky fronting duties – a perfect single vessel to expand the group's reach. And although the title track – referencing the sailboat that hosted their time on the water – stationed in the number three hole corresponds with the opener's hesitancy in finding its pulse, it likewise neatly encapsulates the album's essence in its delightful first verse:

Take me out baby, I want to go sail tonight
I can see the ocean floor in the pale moon light

Ooh, let's explore the sheltered banks til the morning light
And we won't turn back til the shoreline is out of sight

Strangely, the tune that drove so much of the duo's pre-album hype, "Marathon"– itself noting the community located at the mid-point of the Florida Keys – is not among the record's best. It's likable enough, but otherwise unremarkable compared to the preceding offerings. Additionally, one track later, the tangy ballad "Bimini Bay" generally stagnates and packs none of the album's earlier energy. However, that's not to suggest Moore and Riley can't tackle a slower-tempo number, as the more purposeful "Pigeon" reintroduces Moore's previous emotional investment.

Nonetheless, in a handful of more spirited tracks on the flip side, the project returns to its basic premise. "South Carolina" moves about smartly, and although I'd prefer Moore's vocals here without the thin layer of vocal distortion, its still easily the best number here after "Long Boat Pass." Moreover, "Seafarer" rolls out exactly as its title suggests, brisk and carefree and Moore comes closest to Harry's vocal signature, albeit absent the latter's punk grit, while "Baltimore" finds itself closest to the efforts of the hipsters Wavves and Best Coast. At the end, "Waterbirds" is a soothing, if a bit less urgent closing – one perfect for docking-up. And while no individual number runs past "Bimini Bay's" 3:12 and the whole collection barely presents enough material to clear the harbor master's station at a zippy 28 and 1/2 minutes, its no less an enjoyable experience as a result.

Come for: "Long Boat Pass"
Stay for: "South Carolina"
You'll be surprised by: "Pigeon"

P.S. Tennis will be headlining at the Rock N Roll Hotel on Saturday, March 5. Get tickets now, it's a small place.

P.P.S. A second, can't-miss DC show will be going down nights later, when Irish folk-punk legends The Pogues will hit the 9:30 Club, with NMT-profilees Titus Andronicus opening

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Decemberists

As an important note at the outset, the previous release of this week's selected artists was the initial genesis for this blog, as numerous acquaintances asked for reviews of The Decemberists' thematic concept record, The Hazards of Love, that a more standing forum became necessary. Almost two years later, the Portland-based folk-rock intelligentsia return with their most distinct offering yet, the alt-country/heartland-flavored The King Is Dead – set to be released January 18.

The intent of the ten-track album is unambiguous: a cohesive product that is consistent in tone and style from start to finish, and one that incorporates more elements of Americana than European folklore – the latter influence the most prevalent on their previous outing. And to execute their roots-rock sound, the quintet host the sort of guest performers one would expect from such an effort, namely R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and accomplished folk-rock vocalist Gillian Welch, both who make recurring and enhancing contributions to the work. Buck's trademark jangly Rickenbacker notes brighten the otherwise stripped-down compositions, while Welch provides a needed counterpoint to frontman Colin Meloy's vocals. Meloy often sounds best when accompanied by female vocal talent – who help even-out his nasal lisp – as evidenced by the strong contributions of former drummer Rachel Blumberg on much of the band's early work, touring musicians Petra Haden and Lisa Molinaro later on and guest performers Laura Veirs on The Crane Wife ballad "Yankee Bayonet," and Shara Worden as well as Becky Stark on Hazards.

The presence of both Buck and Welch is notable on the collection's first single, the mid-set number "Down By the Water." Buck tacks the song's 3:42 towards his legendary band's own Fables of the Reconstruction, with its rustic imagery and restrained but not moody song structures. The track and the Fables' effort of nearly the same run-time, "Green Grow the Rushes," find not much space between their foundations. At the same time, Welch's voice supports Meloy's rusty wail, enlivening phrases such as "I would bear it all broken" and "the pretty little patter of a seaboard town" that might have sounded more bleak otherwise.

Other heartland rock sensibilities emerge throughout the affair, initiated by the opener "Don't Carry It All's" Tom Petty flair, much in keeping with his mid-90's hit, "You Don't Know How It Feels." Meloy notes the record's change in direction at its commencement, intoning, "here we come to a turning of the season; witness to the arc toward the sun." It's hard-charging and full-bodied, and aptly sets the stage for the balance of the proceedings. And despite the concerted departure here from the groups's previous work, The King Is Dead is awash in the same hyper-literacy – largely driven by Meloy – that floods the band's entire catalogue, with nods to "trillium," "Andalusian tribes," "culverts" and "a panoply of song." No other contemporary performers unleash such an extensive vocabulary, and could rightly be accused of being a bit smarty, smarty.

And much like prior Decemberists projects, charter members Jenny Conlee (organ, keyboards, accordion, etc.) and Chris Funk (guitars, banjo, etc.) offer essential flavor to Meloy's melodies and the solid rhythm work of bassist Nate Query and drummer John Moen – although the latter segment is more subdued in their roles here than on the most recent recordings, as both Query and Moen had more substantial duties in The Crane Wife and The Hazards of Love. For instance, Funk's slide guitar parts hearten the listless "Rise To Me" while his electric guitar talents on "This Is Why We Fight" drive the album's heaviest entry. Likewise, Conlee's saloon parlor piano stiffens "All Arise!" with its backbone and her Hammond organ swirls in the auspices of the record's most upbeat composition, "Calamity Song."

The pair of hymns devoted to months at opposing poles of the calendar – January and June – are understandably divergent in their tenor: the former is stark and unadorned while its counterpart is robust and vibrant, each according to their season. But Meloy infuses both with a common sensuousness – in the literal sense of the word – with descriptions of frosty breath juxtaposed with emerging bulbs; yellow bonnets contrasting with snow-swept grounds. The time spent by Meloy in creating both pieces as functional in their own right while mindful of their relevancy to each other is evident as each unfolds.

Still, it would be an error to slot The King Is Dead at the top of the five-piece's best material. The desire of Meloy and his mates to create a more homogeneous collection is admirable and, indeed, successful – there can be no mistake the tracks collected here belong together. And any loyal Decemberists follower would certainly expect the effort as the result of the band's objective to make an alt-country statement. However, plenty of groups can tailor fine alt-country/Americana records. Far fewer can produce the sort of uber-intelligent, narrative constructions that have won the outfit so many admirers over its decade-plus period of output. Hardly any of their peers could match the majesty of "The Infanta," the playful debauchery of "Billy Liar" or the horrifying humor of "The Rake's Song," among scores of others. The magic instilled in their previous offerings – all the way from 2002's Castaways and Cutouts through The Hazards of Love – is largely absent here. And while the Celtic-flavored "Rox in the Box" here comes closest to the clever cache Meloy has assembled to date, it does not substitute for the full-fledged musical based on a late-1800's Montana mining strike the frontman has alluded to for many years now. Mr. Meloy, we're waiting...

Come for: "Down By the Water"
Stay for: "Calamity Song"
You'll be surprised by: "January/June Hymn"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

April Smith and the Great Picture Show

In the dawning post of 2011, we'll take a final look at a release from the preceding year in the form of the vaudevillian patterns of Songs for a Sinking Ship, out just over a year ago by Brooklyn quintet, April Smith and the Great Picture Show. The theatrical but not overwrought debut features Smith's hearty vocals and acoustic guitar parts thoroughly supported by her capable bandmates.

The outfit stakes out ground somewhere between the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Rilo Kiley on the 11-track effort. The tempo is feisty but not overpowering from the outset number, "Movie Love a Screen." While Smith's full and bright vocals here are clearly the attraction, the ensemble is no group of stragglers along for the ride. Drummer Nick D'Agostino's thumping bass drum launches the sound and continues loud and rubbery throughout, not a distracting, but enhancing presence, which bassist Stevens ultimately augments. Ukulele parts by Dan Romer and Beth Rogers, plus an uncredited trumpet backing all add to the swing-jazz swagger.

Fans of Showtime series Dexter and Weeds will be familiar with the second track, "Terrible Things." With a bit more rocking character than its predecessor and some haunting organ work by Malo, Smith nails the vocal part, opening up more of her range and ratcheting-up the volume. It's easy the collection's best offering, albeit perhaps a bit too short at just 2:21.

Conversely, the full-bodied ballad "Drop Dead Gorgeous" is the album's lengthiest, and finds Smith approaching the conviction of Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis on "I Never." By no means a weak-sounding effort, the song's protagonist is conflicted in assessing her lover's intellect versus their looks. At the same time, following the bridge, the key modulation that climbs into the final chorus reveals the group's synchronization, through which Smith navigates expertly and builds upon at its zenith.

And although the lounge-lizard "Can't Say No" is playful in a Gwen Stefani way, the mid-set "What I'll Do" lacks the vigor of the numbers that came before it, as does "Beloved" later on. But the zydeco-ish "Colors" when paired with the darkly sauntering "The One That Got Away" make up for those deviations from course. At the same time, the closing duo of "Wow and Flutter" and "Stop Wondering" are no filler tracks, as the former exudes a roaring 20's brashness and the latter includes some neat string accompaniment that supports a self-assured vocal finale by Smith, especially at the 22 seconds remaining mark. You'll just have to listen for yourself to uncover the twitter-tailored line.

Come for: "Terrible Things"
Stay for: "Movies Love a Screen"
You'll be surprised by: "Drop Dead Gorgeous"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Beyond the Arena Organ: New Music Tuesday's Favorite Hockey Songs

In an effort to continually expand the reach of this blog's offerings, this special non-Tuesday post marks the second in a series of a irregular commentary on music topics beyond the weekly review of an emerging band or album. This follows last December's Red Sweater Days entry on our top 20 holiday tunes. In today's installment, we'll list our top 10 hockey-related numbers, which is fitting considering this time of year is not only the heart of the National Hockey League's regular season, but today's Winter Classic match-up between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, as well as the ongoing International Ice Hockey Federation's under-20 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York. In this listing, video or audio of our selections will be provided whenever possible. Once again, we'll proceed in ascending order...

#10 – "Uncle Gordie" - Planet Smashers (Attack of the Planet Smashers, 1997)

Nothing goes together quite as well as hockey and ska. Ok, well, it's still a fantastic, upbeat ode to one of the game's greats, while taking jabs at other well-known players like Dougie Gilmour and Theo Fluery. The Montreal-based quintet – around since 1994 – do their composition justice with lines like, "when I grow up I want to play in the NHL, on the same line with Oleg and his brother Kjell."

(listen to and download "Uncle Gordie" here)

#9 – "Me Like Hockey" - Arrogant Worms (Live Bait, 1997)

Expressing the rather neanderthalan tendencies of some hockey fans, the Kingston, Ontario-based musical comedy troupe Arrogant Worms first debuted their lovingly mocking tribute on their 1997 live recording. Amongst the potshots at foreign-born players and Canadian-flavored self-depreciation, the three-piece outfit properly notes the importance of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) excellent Saturday evening hockey coverage, Hockey Night in Canada, which is certainly among the best sports programming ever delivered.

#8 – "Frozen Puck to the Head" - Captain Tractor (Bought the Farm, 1999)

If, by now, you're noticing a certain strain of irreverence in these hockey-related selections, your observations are not misplaced. Perhaps owing to the nature of the sport itself, most good numbers concerning the fastest and toughest team sport are tongue-in-cheek affairs. The same is true of the Edmonton-based folk rock quintet Captain Tractor's tale of a love-struck goalie. It takes a special talent to rhyme "puck stop" with "truck stop," while blending references to "jello in the window display" and Rita McNeil, and the tune is all the better for it.

#7 – "Fireworks" - The Tragically Hip (Phantom Power, 1998)

Although not a hockey song in its entirety, the first verse of this brilliant heartland rocker justifies its position on this list:

If there's a goal that everyone remembers it was back in ole' 72
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember was sitting beside you
You said you didn't give a fuck about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr

Highlighting the captivating talent of the Boston Bruins' hall of fame defenseman Bobby Orr, the verse is a poetic nod to the game as can be found, made possible by one of Canada's most talented bands, who are often touted as the nation's version of R.E.M.

#6 – "We're Gonna Win That Cup - Tommy Calandra/Donna McDaniel (45" single, 1975)

This selection is undeniably a case of homerism, but that's just the way its gonna be. To correspond with the Buffalo Sabres' 1975 campaign that led them to the Stanley Cup finals only to be bested by the nasty Broad Street Bullies, local songwriter Tommy Calandra crafted this piano-ditty to inspire the hometown faithful, along with several others. The song was so revered by fans of the skating swords that Calandra offered a re-worked version for the team's 1999 run to the Cup finals. Not only does this blog's author strongly identify with this bit of Sabres nostalgia, but also had the honor of singing at Calandra's funeral in 1998. "And where there's a Gil there's a way..."

#5 – "The Goal Judge" - Moxy Früvous (The C Album, 2000)

Once again returning to a more lighthearted homage to the sport, the talented Frülads from Toronto – now on indefinite and, sadly, likely permanent hiatus – included this nod to the off-ice officials responsible for signaling that a goal has been scored on their second b-sides collection in 2000. Here, quasi-frontman and drummer (the four-piece rotated lead vocals) Jian Ghomeshi – now Canada's most popular radio personality – correctly notes that absent the little-noticed goal judge, "there would be no hockey game." Well said.

(download "The Goal Judge" here)

#4 – "The Hockey Song" - Stompin' Tom Connors (Stompin' Tom and the Hockey Song, 1973)

Anyone who's ever attended a hockey game at any level has likely heard this iconic number. Often played between breaks in play, Connors' tune describes a fictional game in a succession of periods, goals and plays – a play-by-play in song. The New Brunswick-born Connors' twangy pitch and unassuming style are a fitting match for the game, and serves much the same role as "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" does for its sport.

#3 – "Helmethead" - Great Big Sea (Something Beautiful, 2004)

The first of two homages on this list to one of the unique roles in hockey – a team's dedicated brawler – the boys from St. John's, Newfoundland offer a humorous take on the concept. With the group's multi-instrumentalist Bob Hallett getting a rare turn at lead vocals, his scruffy baritone suits the fighter's identity perfectly, as he warns listeners to "never trust a fella with a helmet on his advice." Wise advice.

#2 – "Hit Somebody" – Warren Zevon (My Ride's Here, 2002)

Following the Newfie lads' interpretation of the hockey pugilist in song is another such depiction, although this time in a bit more serious vein. In terms of background details, this number might be the most interesting on this list. Not only performed by one of rock music's most under-appreciated artists – the late Warren Zevon – the lyrics were penned by noted author and sports commentator Mitch Albom, a friend of Zevon. Moreover, other close friends of Zevon – David Letterman and his Late Show musical colleagues Paul Shaffer and several of his bandmates – perform on the song, with Letterman shouting the track's title during the chorus as if he were a disgruntled fan. After all that, Albom's story of a veteran bruiser longing for his first and only goal stands strong as Zevon once again demonstrates his narrative talent.

#1 – "Fifty Mission Cap" - The Tragically Hip (Fully Completely, 1992)

Even better than a fictional hockey tale set to music is an actual one, such as The Hip's "Fifity Mission Cap," telling the true story of the disappearance of Bill Barilko of the Toronto Maple Leafs. In fact, lead singer and lyricist Gordon Downie's single verse is so efficiently crafted that is tells Barilko's – and the song's – story in full:

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer; he was on a fishing trip. The last goal he ever scored won the Leafs the cup. They didn't win another until 1962, the year he was discovered.

I stole this from a hockey card, I kept tucked up fifty mission cap.

His talented bandmates likewise do their part, delivering a haunting accompaniment that lines-up well with the subject matter. The number truly brings the story contained on the 1991/1992 Pro Set hockey card which inspired it to life.

PS: New Music Tuesday's Top Hockey Films

Since this is a forum devoted to music and not the screen, this list will be keep short. As there are a number of outstanding songs devoted to the game, a similar number of excellent movies capture the sport visually.

#5 – Mystery, Alaska: Featuring Russel Crowe, Burt Lancaster and Hank Azaria, the 1999 story of a fictional match-up between a small-town Alaska team and the New York Rangers could receive some credit for spurring thoughts of outdoor hockey, which has been a significant success for the promotion of the sport in recent years.

#4 – The Mighty Ducks: Although primarily a kids movie, the 1992 Disney effort rather faithfully captured youth hockey in Minnesota, paid homage to the then-Minnesota North Stars and ultimately led to the creation of an actual N.H.L. team in Anaheim. What other sports movie achieved so much?

#3 – Youngblood: Brat pack alum Rob Lowe resembles a young Pat LaFontaine in this 1986 tale of a prospect dealing with maturing into a credible, well-rounded player as opponents target his natural offensive skill with the more physical elements of the game – a aspect still pervasive in the sport at all levels.

#2 – Miracle: Kurt Russell's 2004 portrayal of hockey hall of famer Herb Brooks – the coach who led the underdog U.S.A. squad against the Soviet Union in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics – is iconic and largely faithful to actual events and personalities.

#1 – Slapshot: The quintessential hockey film. Irreverent. Gritty. This 1977 Paul Newman project captures much of the feel of both 1970s society along with the quirky dispositions of the game and its players, while launching the Hanson Brothers to enduring fame.