Nov 15, 2011

For a very brief period before it was swallowed whole, gutted, and repackaged by the corporate music leviathan as “indie rock,” a term so oxymoronic anymore it makes the brain swim just thinkin’ about thinkin’ about it, the so-called “Alternative Nation” was free to explore different combinations between punk and whatever could be mooshed in to soften that tired warhorse’s increasingly rigid boundaries. From Dead Milkmen to the Replacements to Teenage Fanclub to the Vaselines to Tad to the Butthole Surfers to REM to Babes In Toyland, and so on, a lotta interesting ground was covered before it all went to shit when the money and drugs got ever more seductive, the lights went out, and it all became less dangerous, to paraphrase some old Northwestern band who ultimately went nowhere. Hospital Garden sound like they just time-warped from the moment that whole scene hit its apex, when the edges were coated with a perfect amount of pop to make the poison go down. You get Hüsker-aggressive guitars, laid back Stipe-ish vocal delivery, and a blend of harmony and dissonance that recalls both the punkier edge of early grunge and bands like Poster Children. I could be totally cynical and opine that in this era when the corporate overlords are trying their best to force-feed a starving populace the hollowed shell of grunge to make yet another quick buck because no one’s buying the latest swill they’re cookin’ no matter how cheaply priced it is, a band like this should handily find a place on the revival circuit. Lord knows I’ve said much worse before in other weak attempts at a cheap joke. Problem is, though a song here and there might go on just a teensy bit longer than it should, these guys are pretty goddamned good at what they do and—Mahfü strike me down!—they sound so much like a sincere, real band that they stick out like a leper at junior prom. I seriously love ‘em to pieces, but they haven’t a hope in hell in these times. Here’s hoping they don’t give a flying fuck and continue to do what they clearly do so well.

 –jimmy (Hospital Garden)