GERBILS, THE: Are You Sleepy?: LP

Fuzzy, warm, and gently psychedelic, this collection of slacker-pop gems is loaded with shimmering guitar/vocal interplay and sing-song sad hooks. The Gerbils were part of Elephant 6, a collective of quirky low-fi pop bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control, and this is a reissue of their 1998 debut LP. Are You Sleepy? is a delightful transmission from a distant, pre-social media past when “indie” meant “rock,” and some high school friends from a Louisiana college town could let their ideas germinate in isolation, before emerging, fully formed, to blow the knit caps off twee indie rockers and humbly rule the scene for a couple of years. It holds up well, and fits in nicely with the recent wave of Dinosaur Jr.-inspired alt-punk. As an old guy who prefers coffee shops with thrift store couches to those with subway tile floors, I wholeheartedly approve. –Chris Terry (elephant6.com)