Growing: Pumps!

Categories: Nothing Not New
growing.jpg
Artist: Growing
Title: Pumps!
Release date: April 6
Label: Vice

No less an authority than Pitchfork.com, the Bible of indie rock, declared the Brooklyn experimental group Growing to be "cruising music for Brian Eno fans." Better watch what you say, Pitchfork, or you're gonna have a lot of pissed-off Eno fans on your hands.

Growing is a barely listenable exercise in laptop rock. I'll take Brian Eno's experimental stuff from the 1980s over Growing. It's too bad because Vice Records is a reliable label known for putting out challenging and sometimes iconoclastic music by bands like Black Lips, Pierced Arrows, Acrassicauda, and Fucked Up.


Growing's music is a low-key, hazy-sounding soup of muted drum machine beats, synth loops, and various other computer-generated noises, with a few disjointed vocal samples thrown into the mix for good measure. To call it hypnotic would be a compliment because that would imply the music sends you to a warm, comfortable, narcotic-like space in your head. I found Pumps! (what's with the exclamation point? This music in no way warrants a symbol of excitement) to be off-putting. I can't believe I listened to it twice. 

To me, Growing sounds like Midlake if Midlake were making music from the 25th century instead of the 12th century. And what's even more amazing to me is that this "band" is beginning a six-week tour of America (sorry, the closest they're coming to Phoenix is Tucson on May 4) tomorrow in their hometown of Brooklyn. 

I can't even begin to imagine what a Growing concert would be like. Well, according to their publicist, "seeing Growing live is to witness unpredictable sounds being wrangled from instruments one would not have thought capable of producing them, as wave upon rhapsodic wave of sonic exuberance immerses the listener in an alien-dance cocoon." 

I'm just going to have to take their word for it.

Best song: The unintentionally ironically named "Highlight"
Rotation: None
Deja vu: A broken video game.
I'd rather listen to: Whaddaya got?
Grade: F

"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.

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