Lilys and Need New Body

Myopic indie types do a lot of jawing about the Philadelphia band Lilys' incredible stylistic breadth, but it says something significant about underground rock when a group that has simply channeled different strains of British guitar-pop--shoegazing noise, Kinksian strum, psychedelic poesy--over the past decade is celebrated for its open ears. Something significantly bad, I mean. Still, unearned reputation or no, Precollection, Lilys' latest, is full of hummable tunes, tasty guitar fuzz, generous keyboard whine and front man Kurt Heasley's sleepy croon--four ingredients nearly always welcome in my home. There's a weird spareness to the record, too, that sets it apart from other indie-rock comfort food; in "Mystery School Assembly" a ragged guitar line keeps threatening to overpower the ragtag drumbeat keeping time beneath it but never does. Openers and fellow Philadelphians Need New Body actually do boast an incredible stylistic breadth: Their self-titled File 13 disc is bad free-jazz tomfoolery that's really quite good, a drunken swagger through a minefield of Zappa-fied squawk on the way to an unlicensed all-ages dance club. The last time I saw the band (entirely on accident, I should add) there was a dude onstage playing a bicycle wheel with much zest. Hopefully he'll show up again.
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Mikael Wood