The Underthings, who bill themselves as “Brooklyn’s Oldest Hit Makers,” feature members of the Sea Monkeys, Little Killers, Plungers, and Vacant Lot, and they haven’t just been around the block, they were there when the block was paved. This has been a great year for singles—Ergs, Primate 5, Coconut Coolouts, Tuff Bananas, Catholic Boys—and my most recent mix tape is already dragging from overuse (Maxell’s R&D budget ain’t what it used to be. They’ve even cut back on the amount of leader tape in each cassette.)—and “Shake Me Just a Little Bit More” is the best song on that mix. Don’t be led astray by the lyric’s modest request there’s big action. Enough pop, punk, and garage to please the Chocolate Watchband fan as much as the All fanatic—that’s what great guitar hooks and simple yet adhesive melodies will get you in this world. The b-side is okay, same great band at the helm, but suffers in the arrangement department (the last line of each verse is repeated in every chorus and it’s overkill). Worth it for the a-side.
–Mike Faloon (www.myspace.com/heyheyitstheunderthings)