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Review: Hoops - self-titled EP
Posted August 24, 2016 by Greg Lindberg
WRITTEN BY
Greg Lindberg
ON
August 24, 2016
TAGS

Lately I’ve been covering music from Lafayette and Kokomo, but I was excited when I was asked to review the new EP from Bloomington’s Hoops. When it was announced earlier this year that Hoops signed to Fat Possum (a favorite of mine), a collective “yip yip” was sent throughout the fields of Hoosier Land. The four-piece deserves our attention as they add a needed dimension to current Indie-rock, but mostly they just have a nice vibe. They’ve been a fine pairing with the likes of Whitney and Porches, but this new EP proves their individuality with production that lightens the mechanics rather than diminishing the lo-fi charm of their past cassette releases.

Press releases and other reviewers may have you believe that Hoops’ self-titled EP is a byword of easy, breezy summertime feels, but I’m here to tell you this is a fall record. I mean those people aren’t wrong. This is the perfect summer release, but the vibe is less hustle and more “leafs are changing, dude.” The summer fades, and we often see ourselves caught up in reverie of lost time and thickening air of transitional Midwest weather.

The reflective and ageless sound of “Give It Time” has the haunting delicacy and understanding reminiscent of seasonal predecessors, such as American Football’s “The Summer Ends” or Yo La Tengo’s “Our Way to Fall.” Bassist/vocalist Kevin Krauter sings, “easy come, easy go” in the verse leading up to, “Where does time go?” The rhythm careens to a wavy balance of energy and excitement in full tandem with Krauter’s lax vocals.

Opener “Cool 2” bursts with joyful and youthful wonderment, cooling you down from the heat. Summer descends into a darker place where beaches become lakes and then frozen ponds. Hoops are their quickest here, and this track fits in The Now with headphones pulled up, eyes closing, and a solemn placement.

“Yeah” brings the tempo down, but the deep disposition of sleepiness is as alive as the smell of burning leaves or wet grass. “Oh, yeah,” echoes sensibly until a synth outro loosens your grip into the slumbering sundown. The third track “Going Strong” overpours itself into your mistrusted heart – you know, that teenage feeling that never really left. The ‘80s sound here is undeniable, but it’s more of hopeful old bruises or scrapes (a determined reminder) than some nostalgic binge.

Time is fleeting, and though the last track, “Gemini,” may make you think of the summer astrological sign, it’s the looking back at that specific time in our lives that remains prominent. Gemini passes, and Hoops manage to mellow out even more with their most full chorus (once again singing of time running short) and a pleasingly harmonized bridge. At this point the EP ends, but like some weirdo in an unreal infomercial, I guarantee you’ll want to replay Hoops again and again.

Hoops’ EP further deflects my suspicion of a snowball trend of harkening back to simpler, adult contemporary jams, but instead a genuine mood is evoked that basks in the evolution of modern youth from any time or place. It’s connected and real – no processed filler. Time passes. We get older, and as the year gets colder there’s a cathartic sadness. Hoops made something spiritual for the loner in his dorm, the pre-and-post-Morrissey teenage girl, drifting through stages late twenty-something, worn-out new dad, and deflated beach balls in Rio. The Now is a passing phase with a certified soundtrack.

See Hoops before they blow up more (they will) tonight at The Bishop and at Luna this Friday. And, then come find me and tell me, “No, dawg. Hell no, dawg. It’s a summer album.” Whatever.

Hoops Upcoming Tour Dates:

08/24/16 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop +
08/26/16 - Indianapolis, IN @ LUNA Music
09/08/16 - Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club *
09/09/16 - Madison, WI @ The Frequency *
09/23/16 - Cincinnati, OH @ Midpoint Music Festival
09/24/16 - Champaign, IL @ The Pygmalion Festival
09/29/16 - Green Bay, WI @ Meyer Theatre (Backstage) ^
10/03/16 - Nashville, TN @ Exit/In *
10/04/16 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl *
10/05/16 - Durham, NC @ Duke Coffeehouse *
10/06/16 - Washington, DC @ DC9 *
10/07/16 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church *
10/09/16 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott *
10/10/16 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg *
10/11/16 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *

* w/ Whitney
^ w/ Car Seat Headrest
+ w/ The Pills & Nice Try

Also read our initial feature story on Hoops for further background on the band.

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