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Influence raid

The Forgotten 45s have binged pop from 50 years ago

The Forgotten 45s raid decades of pop record bins to inform their indie rock. Photo credit: Facebook

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I admit to having some knee-jerk biases when it comes to finding bands to write about in this here rag. A lot of things that immediately turn me off are ways in which bands choose to describe themselves: whether it's a lack of enthusiasm in one's own music, or a disconcerting overabundance of it, bands can have a hard time riding that line of advertising themselves without seeming insincere.

Since the days that social media began, the ways to convey in so many words just what your band is like has become even more difficult. Perhaps the most treacherous pitfall is the section provided to bands on Facebook to list their influences. As a rule, I am distrustful of bands that list a paragraph of bands from drastically different genres and distant decades that have informed their art. Yes, this is unfair, seeing as how we all are inspired by scores of groups that couldn't have less to do with each other, but the shorthand of this blunder reads to me as a band trying to cover as much ground as possible while never sounding remotely like the artists they cite.

It's a given, then, that I was wary of the Forgotten 45s, who include the following bands - and many, many more - in their list of influences: the Beach Boys, Alice in Chains, Screaming Trees, Father John Misty, INXS, N*SYNC, the Posies, the Pixies, Jeff Buckley (twice), Tears for Fears, Foo Fighters, Social Distortion, Death Cab for Cutie, Bob Dylan, Big Star, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stone Temple Pilots, Jackson Browne, and Toad the Wet Sprocket. After years of writing about music, that sort of list feels to me like the influences of a group holding off for as long as possible before biting the bullet and just becoming a cover band.

I was pleasantly surprised to take a listen to the Forgotten 45s debut LP, STOP, and hear that a lot of these artists' influences are actually felt, in a sort of innocent way that avoids a more literal, subversive act of mixing and mashing sounds out of a sense of postmodern experimentation - rather, the Forgotten 45s genuinely sound like a band that has digested years of pop music and reinterpreted it through their very sincere worldview. Yes, some genres like blues-rock, grunge, and ‘50s rock are explicitly explored, but they always get filtered through a voice that is unmistakably that of the Forgotten 45s.

And that name: the Forgotten 45s. Listening to STOP, it settles in that, while this may not be a deliberate effort on their part, there is a sense that this is a collection of records that would've been scrounged from discount bins for different genres, though covered by an indie rock band that is happy to be showing these long lost gems to a new crowd. In some ways, STOP comes across like one of those albums that covers an album of a forgotten artist's songs as performed by a murderer's row of bands, each interpreting this artist in their own style.

Opener "Stop" emulates Death Cab for Cutie, while follower "Pink Azaleas" is a jaunty bit of early ‘60s bubblegum, almost aping the Monkees. The rest of the songs jump from funk to grunge to blues to ‘90s hard rock to modern indie pop, always keeping the delicate vocal melodies and the solid guitar work that elevates the proceedings.

Just like they foretold with their band name, the Forgotten 45s feel like the kind of band that would be a welcome discovery when keeping an open mind in a record store. If you've ever taken a chance on an album and said, "hey, how about that," you might know how it is to hear the Forgotten 45s.

Forgotten 45s, w/ Bob Fossil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 10 p.m., No Cover, Le Voyeur, 404 E. 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360.943.5710

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