PropertyOfZack had the pleasure of Kieren Smith from Little Bombs dropping by our HQ a few months ago to film a great Session. Kieren played stripped down versions of “Back Home” and “Skin And Bones” that you can watch below by clicking “Read More!”
When beloved Minnesota power-poppers Sing It Loud fractured in 2010 under the weight of creative differences, most fans kept their eyes out for lead singer Pat Brown’s next move. Meanwhile, guitarist Kieren Smith, an equal creative force in that project, seems to have quickly slipped off the radar. Now, following a brief dalliance with solo acoustic recording and a move to New York City, Smith has put together another band, Little Bombs, with Take Cover drummer Derek Johnson, and it’s clear from their self-titled debut that the time out of the spotlight was trying.
Smith has always evinced a gift for strong melodic chops, but he’s dialed down the volume on his pop moves here a smidge; everything on Little Bombs is a touch darker, a bit roughed up, a little less obvious than anything Sing It Loud attempted. It’s a move that suits his voice, more demure and shaded than Brown’s boisterous, nasal presence. If Sing It Loud were a power-pop band of the 2008 neon vintage, Little Bombs bears much more in common with the term’s progenitors, refugees from an alternate universe where The Posies towered over Nirvana and Material Issue’s International Pop Overthrow truly became one. “Deal With The Devil” splits the difference between Weezer’s Blue Album and Better Than Ezra’s Deluxe; lead single “Don’t Walk My Way” is the sad cousin of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “We Are The Normal”.
Credit producer Ed Ackerson (who clearly knows this territory well, having been around this block once or twice with his own experimental-pop group Polara) for both coaxing measured, nuanced performances out of Smith and Johnson and for the album’s well-worn feel, all chunky drums, scuzzed-up guitars and thick-but-crisp basslines. (Those basslines, uncredited in the band’s bio, are particularly exceptional throughout, often carrying the melody through middle eights and prechoruses). It’s not at all perfected — the cymbals in “Watch You Go”’s chorus mash together into some weird, phased distraction, for one — but the upsides of the approach far outweigh the drawbacks. There’s a super-satisfying feel to the whole affair, a pleasant organic sillage that’s doubly refreshing when contrasted with the robotic, hyper-precise impersonal sheen that seems to have infected so much guitar pop as of late. Imperfect pop forever!
New Music Video: ”Back Home” // Little Bombs
Sing It Loud teased fans with a new statement earlier tonight, and Kieren from the band has now confirmed that Sing It Loud have reissued their first EP with two bonus acoustic songs. Kieren also explained that while the band has discussed becoming active again that nothing is set in stone. Check out his full statement below by clicking “Read More”.
Little Bombs (ft. Kieren Smith from Sing It Loud) released their debut self-titled album just a few days ago. Kieren was kind enough to write up a Track-By-Track guide behind each of the songs on the album for fans. You can buy the album here and check out the band’s Facebook page here. Read up on it below and enjoy!
1. Back Home
This is one of the first songs I ever wrote for Little Bombs. Right after Sing It Loud broke up I went through this sort of “anti-scene” phase. I guess you could say I’m definitely not listening to that music at all anymore, but I’m not as bitter towards it as I was. After working for years on SIL and watching it all crumble the last 6 months I was a part of it was really discouraging. So when I started coming up with this song, I was trying to be as fresh as possible. It was nothing like I had written before musically and it really got to me. The lyrics basically have the “fuck it, nothing matters” attitude since as we all know, everything ends anyway. Its pretty negative and bitter, but honestly, who doesn’t feel that way every once and a while? And plus, it’s just an awesome song to drink a beer to.
2. Feel This
"Feel This" is definitely the punk-rock song on the album. Both Derek and I are huge Nirvana/Foo Fighters fans, so our influences show in this track. I wrote the riff one day when I was pissed off (as you will see is a major theme throughout the record), and rather than try and write some deep lyrical meaning, I just decided to state the obvious. Too many people try to be poetic when a simple, basic phrase gets the point across just fine.
3. Cold Winter
What can I say… Minneapolis is one cold city, and when it gets cold, it gets dark. Living in that environment has an effect on everyone. Some more than others, but most people in Minnesota have some sort of seasonal disorder. “Cold Winter” is basically about that time of year when everything outside is dead and you get that long hopeless feeling inside. It almost puts you in a zombie/trance-like state which in turn, can be really great for artistic expression. It is actually quite beautiful.
4. Watch You Go
This is the most personal song to me on the record. Right when SIL ended, my longtime girlfriend and I split up. And to be honest, it was because I was being a dumbass. I was insecure and selfish and stopped putting her first in my life. Well, she basically called me out on it and gave me what I deserved. It takes a lot of guts to come out and admit that, and it takes a true man to do so. The basic message here is to remember what/who is important in your life, and never take them for granted. Everyone can relate to this, and if you can’t, you’re in denial.