Who? Action Painters — Tom Haslow (vocals/guitar), Jon Levine (bass), Allison Zatarain (keys), and Amit Wehle on drums — come from the indie incubator of Brooklyn. The quintet is currently touring the East Coast in support of their seven-song debut, Chubby Dancer, out now via the Girl Group.
What’s the Deal? For such a short record (clocking in at under thirty minutes), Chubby Dancer displays a pleasingly shocking bit of range. Action Painters do twinkly heartache with the best of them (“Cold Dead Corner”), and their up-tempo numbers (“Never Say I’m Sorry”) are convincingly jagged. It’s when they let the excitement of being young and romantic and stupid make them dizzy, though, that they excel. Album opener “Absolutely Clear” can’t decide whether it wants to be classic rawk or post-punk, so Haslow lets his voice tremble and shake and splits the difference, landing somewhere frenetic and epic and sweet. It all sounds sort of tossed off, as if the band doesn’t care, but buried beneath the artsy fury lies AM radio gold. Think the Replacements if they had given a damn more often.
Fun Fact: Action Painters is actually pulled from the term ‘Action Painting,’ a form of art that emerged in the 20th century. Associated with abstract expressionism, it is characterized by an almost visceral relationship between the artist and the canvas — Jackson Pollack is perhaps the most famous practitioner of the style, his paintings splashed with paint in a seemingly spontaneous and violent way. The name Action Painters seems appropriate to the band, though; they formed partially on Craigslist, and the semi-anonymous nature of that genesis manifests itself as genres are spliced and thrown around with reckless abandon.
Now Hear This:
Action Painters – “Absolutely Clear” DOWNLOAD MP3
Talk: Hold me closer, Chubby Dancer?
Get a Free Digital Sampler from SPIN.com and Insound!
When you spend $25 at Insound.com, you can download a free sampler featuring tracks from Bright Eyes, Dungen, Dinosaur Jr., and many more! FIND OUT HOW >>