How indie rock got its groove back: Four D.C. scenesters listen to ZZ Top's Eliminator nonstop for a week, realize its might but recognize its limits (narrow field of focus, reluctance to test goal-oriented MTV viewers' patience, songs exclusively about body parts or carburetors) and set about retooling the formula for muso geeks born too late to truly appreciate Little Feat. At least that's what Apollo Stars, the latest from Trans Am/Make-Up/Royal Trux offshoot Golden, suggests when "Feel This Flow" barrels out of the gate like the world's best excuse to reconsider the moustache. The disc is a spectacular rejection of irony, hinged solely on the correct assumption that you get access to better riffs if you play it straight. And play they do: Guitarist Alex Minoff peels off one melted-butter solo after another, singer Ian Eagleson pretends the Afghan Whigs stayed awesome, drummer Jon Theodore keeps both eyes on the road. They even slip in sly world-pop flavors and a slow, pretty one that never erupts every time you think it will. "I fly on the Apollo from juke joints to the disco," Eagleson sings at one point in a voice enamored of both. Isn't this cooler than more designer-jeans ennui?


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