Spotlight \

The Slats

Who? Hailing from Iowa City, Iowa and Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Slats are comprised of drummer Mark Tietjen, guitarist/bassist/vocalist Jon Hansen, and guitarist/vocalist Brian Cox. Their new album, Boom Patrol, follows on the heels of 2004’s Pick It Up and 2002’s The Great Plains of San Francisco.

What’s the Deal? While the Slats are the latest product of the Twin Cities, that once and future rock Mecca with a bloodline running from the Replacements through to the Hold Steady and beyond, there’s no messy bar band here. Alternating between straight-ahead rock songs and Beastie-beat raps, Cox’s often Mark E. Smith-style robotic vocals belie the fact that his heart can usually be found on his sleeve, and the music is lent an urgency by its tendency to sound like it’s continuously on the verge of breaking down.

Fun Fact: The Slats have a penchant for the, well, dorky. Their songs come across like mythologies from non-existent comic book universes, filled with androids, mainframes, and super-villains, and the band members have claimed to come from atop Mount Vesuvius, where they do battle with dinosaurs. Much like Art Brut, the Slats come across so unapologetically, ridiculously sincere that one might assume they’re putting us on. Don’t. Making that assumption, of course, would be letting the dinosaurs win. JEFFREY PARKER

Now Hear This: The Slats – “Ironman” (Download MP3)

Talk: Will you be picking up Pick It Up? COMMENT

On the Web: theslats.com

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