Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

"Baby Calendar-Fifteen Year Old Sneakers"

April 1, 2006

Band Name: Baby Calendar
Album Name: Fifteen Year Old Sneakers
Best Element: Twee Pop Experimentation
Genre: Twee Pop
Website: www.babycalendar.tk
Label Name: n/a
Band E-mail: babycalendar@hotmail.com

A lot of people haven’t heard of Twee pop. And yet, there is no way to explain what Baby Calendar sounds like if you don’t know what Twee Pop is. Twee pop is basically pop music that sounds really, really cute. In fact, you might say that the bands are obsessed with making songs that make you go ‘awww, how cute!’ You have to know you’re making it cute to make it as cute as it ends up being. One of my friends says it sounds like messed-up kids’ music- and I would have to agree. It is kids’ music, only meant for an older set. It takes some getting used to.

Baby Calendar is a really good twee-pop band. They stretch the boundaries of the genre in all directions, while maintaining a home sound that functions around an acoustic guitar, a very pleasant female vocalist, and a high-pitched male vocalist. It’s not punk-pop high, it’s just high. There are all manner of other instruments here, including piano (the heavily Russian “Mobile Command Unit”, in one of the only serious songs here), bells, charming choirs (“I Hate Meeces to Pieces”), synths (“Audio Blanket”), and many more. There’s some fast songs that border on being rock songs (“Industry”, “Green Tea”), and some slow songs (“Bridges”, “Audio Blanket”). Basically, everything that can be pondered has been thrown into this album. They even take a side-trip into serious indie-rock with the brilliant “Within Cell Walls”- one of the best tracks, but not representative of their overall sound whatsoever.

But even for all its experimentation, Baby Calendar does best when they just strip down their sound and focus on songwriting. “Highway Pilot 16” is the simplest song on the album, relying on an interesting strum pattern and a strong melody to carry the song all the way through. And those two things carry it through- very well. This is due in part to the fact that the dual vocalists of Baby Calendar have very unique melodic ideas- not too weird, just stuff that you don’t usually hear.

“Laboratories” is another example of simple songwriting serving best. The song almost fits neatly into verse/chorus/verse structure, with nothing but bass, drums, and guitar- and it’s one of the most accessible tracks on the album, and definitely one of the best- because they don’t let a bunch of kitsch get in the way of good songwriting. They just let their twee tendencies shine through, and it works really well.

These guys have a bright future in their little niche. Their songwriting skills are great, their use of auxiliary instruments is fabulous, the songwriting style is quite unique, and the vocals are good enough. It takes a while to get used to it, because it’s so different than what most are used to listening to, but hey- stretch yourself. You just may like Baby Calendar’s Fifteen Year Old Sneakers. At the very least, you’ll be able to say you like Twee Pop and impress all your hipster friends.

-Stephen Carradini
independentclauses@hotmail.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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