Dudes, yo, this was one hell of a party.
Photo by Jenny Frazier
After two days of YouTubing You Tu death, we got you a thank-you-for-letting-us-crash-on-your-couch present. That Jarvis Cocker/Air reference a couple days ago? Deliberate attempt at giving SOTC’s first real week some semblance of a narrative thread. Cheap rockist tricks, we know. So what.
So the Friday-afternoon gift we got you—a sign of gratitude for letting us eat your Cheerios and smell up your sofa—is an unreleased version of an unreleased song: Boston band Age Rings covering Air’s “One Hell of a Party,” a track leaked from the French duo’s upcoming Pocket Symphony. For the sake of relevance, the MP3 is also vaguely related to Pazz & Jop: Age Rings’s guitarist is one of the 494 critics who voted this year—his name’s Will Spitz, he hates dance-punk, and loves sushi. Make fun of his ballot here.
Age Rings is from Boston, but don’t hold it against them, you big-city snobs. Core members—Spitz, frontman/guitarist/songwriter Ted Billings, and bassist Andrew McInnes—played in a high-school band for six years called Slater, which eventually morphed into Age Rings when a fourth member moved away. One of their locals described them like this: “If Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-era Wilco covered tunes by Pavement and Spoon, it might sound something like this band and these songs.” That’s a relatively accurate comparison, but we wish he’d have taken a little more time with that sentence.
Anyway, we’ve had these two tracks on repeat for the last four hours and we’re starting to like Age Rings’s version better than the original. The preference is mostly emotional: one version is full of regret, the other afterglow. Set in the aftermath of a sleepless bender, Air has Pulp’s demigod stewing from a night that sounds both nefarious and Dionysian, as if last night included at least one of three things: 1) an affair with his brother’s wife; 2) a Rope-style murder; 3) a coke mountain that left his dopamine receptors all fried.
Meanwhile, the party at the Age Rings house sounds like it was way more fun. Ted Billings’s exuberance leads you to believe: 1) Every guy in the band finally hooked up with their longtime crushes; 2) At one point, a tubby mutual friend got naked and jumped on the sofa; 3) Somehow, at the end of all this, there’s more PBR in the fridge—the beer genie must’ve come. Air makes us want to swallow pills and slit our wrists; Age Rings makes us want to hit brunch and drink Bloody Marys.
Tomorrow night, Age Rings play Piano’s at 8 pm. Kid-buzz band Care Bears On Fire open!
Age Rings, “One Hell Of A Party” (MP3)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 9, 2007