Marvin the Robot

Commercially Viable Jump Music

Indie Rock | Punk | Alternative Rock

Marvin the Robot
2016

Music

Indie rock goes back to its jangly raucous roots on Marvin the Robot’s ‘Commercially Viable Jump Music’

December 28, 2017
65 Picks

Growing up an acolyte of the Lou Barlow and J Mascis school of indie rock, I will always have a soft spot for the earnest lo-fi stylings of bands like Marvin the Robot. The Columbus, OH collective has been kicking around since 1999, always with singer / guitarist Miles Curtiss at its center. Their latest,¬†Commercially Viable Jump Music, is Curtiss’ music at its best: stripped down, unpretentious, and raw.

It’s an album that harkens back to an era when the term “indie rock” wasn’t just code for “pop, but with guitars.” There’s a personality here. Songs like “Girls Can Tell” and “Shouldn’t Have To Be So Brave” couldn’t have come from anyone else. Jangly acoustic guitars peek out from behind the sludged leavy lead, and drums have exactly two modes: loud or not playing.

It’s as it should be. Curtiss sings like a bewildered time traveller from 1992 trying to make sense of the world around him; all confounded shouts and frustration. On the band’s best songs, like “Get Out Of The Good Life” and the brilliantly titled “Liberals! Can We Riot Now?” their chemistry locks in and they find the right balance of indie jangle and punk attitude.

Stream it if you must, but this is the kind of album you really need to listen to on vinyl. Luckily they have some of those.

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