Who? It’s no accident the Brooklyn five-piece act named itself after a beloved dance move. The group’s indie pop tunes make listeners bounce and shimmy, even as they sing along to their cynical choruses. Although they have been garnering plenty of positive buzz since their 2003 inception, Harlem Shakes (which now includes singer Lexy Benaim, guitarist (and past SPIN.com contributor) Todd Goldstein, bassist Jose Soegaard, keyboardist Kendrick Strauch, and drummer Brent Katz) have decided to remain unsigned. They recently released their debut EP, Burning Birthdays, which was produced by Chris Zane of Asobi Seksu, Human Television, and Les Savy Fav fame.
What’s the Deal? The tracks on Burning Birthdays are aimed at movers, shakers, and the love-starved. The five-song disc is power pop that is unrepentantly off-kilter, a fact that is only accentuated by Benaim’s adenoidal vocals. In addition to Birthday’s zippy accordian-enhanced melodies (“Felt Wings”) and transcendental vocal harmonies (“Carpetbaggers”), there are also eager invitations to “get drunk at the movies.” Even “Sickos” manages to become an unexpectedly upbeat anthem. Despite repeated reminders of “this place is filled with sickos,” the track is brimming with enough exuberance to make you want to dance your cares away.
Fun Fact: The band has been known to bust out a cover of Ying Yang Twins’ “The Whisper Song” when they play at house parties. GINNY YANG
Now Hear This: Harlem Shakes – “Carpetbaggers” DOWNLOAD MP3
On the Web: harlemshakes.com
Talk: Do you want fries with these Shakes?