VOXTROT as part of the NXNeXtra series at Sneaky Dee's (431 College), Friday (June 8). $10/free for first 50 wristband holders. 416-603-3090 Rating: NNNNN
For all the current buzz around MySpace-created instant rock stars and the power of online musical communities, Internet notoriety can be both a blessing and a curse.
Take the example of Austin indie pop crew Voxtrot, whose cyber cult hero status spread faster than lice in a nursery school long before their first official album was released.
Though the quintet released their first LP just this month, their profile's been bolstered by bloggers (frontman Ramesh Srivastava's got his own journal at thevoxtrotkid.blogspot.com) and Internet tastemakers (there's even a MySpace site solely dedicated to making Voxtrot move to San Francisco) since the band was founded in 03.
But all that premature praise and a handful of early indie EPs set the bar extraordinarily high for their self-titled debut on Beggars Group imprint Playlouder. In typical indie-kids-eating-their-own style, many early supporters had grumbly responses to the hook-packed, slightly slick disc.
"I avoided reading the review on Pitchfork," sighs Srivasatva of the middling 5.9/10 score awarded to Voxtrot by the notorious indie music site. "But I've asked people so many questions that I might as well have fucking read it. I figured not all the bloggers would love the album, and though I'm not keen on leaving our supportive fan base behind, I think this might just be a crossover moment for us.
"I don't think it's healthy to be married to either the lo-fi stuff or the more produced material. If you really want to be a career band and we do it's important to grow organically."
If you're attached to Voxtrot's older, peppier stuff, the moodier, broodier tone of the Tosca String Quartet-accented ballads on the disc might rub you the wrong way, though overall it's a very solid collection of sweet pop songs with some prickly peaks.
And while Srivastava's blog suggests his band'sbeen working on bouncier new material, he insists a return to form isn't just about giving the people what they want.
"You can't force yourself to write a certain kind of music. If you feel more liberated, more free and easy, that's the way your songs will come out. It sounds dumb, but it's true."
Music from Voxtrot