One of my favourite albums of 2012 is Summer Feeling by The Eversons. It's not a new album - it was released earlier this year. And I'm not new to it, I've had it a while. I liked the online sampler so much I bought the LP version. I saw the band perform in-store at Slow Boat Records as part of Record Store Day. I liked the album so much I was lucky enough to get the band members to sign my copy. You can do that when a local band makes an LP. It's a lot harder to get them to sign Mp3 files.
So I've been meaning to mention The Eversons and this great record for some time. And now they have a tribute EP available too - a few of their Lil' Chief label-mates have recorded new versions of Eversons songs.
Summer Feeling was released as winter approached. But the real reason I'm writing about it now is not because its title is starting to suit the season - it's because they're playing a show this Friday at the San Francisco Bath House. There's support from Tommy Ill and Jeremy Taylor. It should be a great show. Now seemed a good time to bang on a bit about what is easily the second-finest album from a local artist this year. (Lawrence Arabia's The Sparrow takes the top spot for me.)
Summer Feeling is more reminiscent of Tono and the Finance Company's Up Here for Dancing (and maybe that gets third place since it now seems I'm in the business of handing out placings/medals).
Well, anyway, it's been a good year for local releases and I'll write more about the others later but The Eversons' LP has me under its spell for all sorts of reasons. First - and foremost - I can't quite place their sound. And I love that.
What I mean to say is that for all the evidence of slacker-anthem writing, be it from Jonathan Richman or Pavement, and for the thin traces of brand-new-retro surf-rock and vintage Flying Nun/Dunedin Sound, The Eversons (manage to) sound like themselves. I know a lot of people get grumpy with music writers for creating comparisons. But in so many cases you can actually put a band in a box. (Just as often it's a shame we're required - legally - to create air-holes.)
But you start thinking of The Eversons as a Pavement-sounding or Jonathan Richman-aping band and that's not correct at all. Similarly, you might hear some of the pop and punch of the Green Weezer album (the band's third album, their final album in the worth hearing category when it comes to Weezer records). But you are not hearing a band that deserves - for better or worse - to be written off as Weezer-lite, or, really, for that matter, Weezer-like.
It's rare these days to hear a band that has honed its sound as sharply and convincingly as The Eversons have - right in time for the debut full-length album.
Here is a band of young, hard-working guys. Clever songs, catchy, funny, playful, subversive - every song with its own pop hook to hang on and from; loads of ideas. And they back it up live. There have been - to get to this point - loads of gigs. This is all obvious, or should be. This is the way to build a sound. And a following. And from there - hopefully - some form of career. And you get the feeling that the band is approaching it this way, in this correct order. Get the sound. Harness it, hone it. From there the following comes. And you work at it of course. And then, who knows.
Well they've got an album on vinyl - cool green vinyl, by the way. And they're deserving of international interest. They've got the tunes. Boy, do they have the tunes.
You'll hear unreliable narrators; you'll hear backing singers arguing with the main singer, at one point you might swear you're hearing Woody Allen's idea of a Greek chorus put to use in a pop song.
The Eversons have released what feels pretty close to a classic. An album that could never be just a flavour of the month. And one that will absolutely be a highlight of the year. And on from here...
I'm reminded of great Kiwi albums that remain favourites for me to this day: Bressa Creeting Cake's self-titled debut, the first Stereo Bus album and Superette's Tiger. I'm not saying The Eversons sound like any of those acts. I'm saying The Eversons are most certainly as good as all of those groups. Summer Feeling is as good as those fine albums.
The Eversons are one of the best bands working in Wellington right now. And in the country.
I look forward to seeing them this Friday night. It should be a ripper of a gig. Will you be going? Have you heard the band's album? Are you interested to check them out? Or are you not convinced by The Eversons? What do you think? And what's your favourite New Zealand band you've discovered this year?