“Ekonomy,” you say, squinting at the K on the chalkboard.
“Ah, pardon that old sign,” the landlady replies, pulling the board down from the door as she speaks. “The boys stuck that up last year, when they first moved in here. Acted like the lovable losers, bashing through every party like the Buzzcocks or the Only Ones. And they had a good time, sure, but I knew the game couldn’t last — told them so myself, too. You can only be an amateur once, after all.” She sets the board down on the counter before her.
“What, are they gone now?” you ask. A light flickers above you.
“Well, Ian and the gang were talking about moving out for months. Somewhere nice, where they could squeeze in some synths and oboes and whatever else they wanted on their new record — Fishing, they called it. The goal, I take it, was to grow up in a hurry so folks would learn to respect them. So they packed up their gear and moved closer downtown.”
“And did it work?”
“Are you kidding? I’ve never seen a bunch of kids turn around so fast. Last year, they were whining about girls and running around with scissors in their hands; now they’re pushing pedals and clutching roses. The songs are tighter, Ian croons with more gusto, the band can actually move fast AND slow. Less Vapors, more Pavement, I’d say – although the warbly waves on ‘M7’ made me scratch my chin and wonder if they’ve been hanging with some blokes from Athens, like those Dead Neighbors guys.
“I’ll tell you this, though — see, the boys tinkered with a bunch of tricks, like some bossa nova bit and an organ solo and some blues chords and a free-form jazz blast. Which is all nice and clever, but all they need to do is let Ian shake loose more often. ‘The Stone’ jumps from a Police throwaway to a big ol’ grungy barnburner when that guy warms up his pipes.”
“So you really like this new Ekonomy album?”
“Oh, it’s all right. Ian’s still got that inebriated charm, and his band holds him well. But the words still sound like snippets from a textbook on love songs, and now the tunes sound like snippets from other people’s albums. They used to angle themselves as outsiders, you know — now they’re just some nice guys in a band. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they moved out — gave me time to scrub out all those tomato sauce stains and beer spills.” The landlady looks down at the chalkboard. “But they need to just yank that K out of their name, because it don’t suit them anymore.”
Ian and the Ekonomy will celebrate the release of their new LP tonight at RowdyDowdy. They will be supported by Negra (Nashville) and Blanko (Athens). Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $5. All Ages.