Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Crowd of Small Adventures: BANG BANG

It's no secret that I am not immersed in the world of cool - the world of hip young singles (or pseudo singles as the case may be).
When it comes to music, I live vicariously. I suppose I always have. As a child it was my father's midnight vinyls that commanded my listening ear - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell et al. As a teenager it was my big sister, my cool cousins bringing me Depeche Mode, Erasure, OMD, The Cure. In adulthood I could very well be hidden in the avalanche of popular-gone-Sesame-Street, e.g. Feist counting 1-2-3-4 monsters, or penguins, or chickens - that is, children could rule my musical ear if I let them. But NO. It cannot be so.

Instead I look to my kid sister as my new proxy. Chani kept singing after high school madrigals. She sings still. First in a group called Rubik's Hotel, and now an up and coming group in Las Vegas called Dusty Sunshine. She's hooked up in the local scene and passes on new gems to me.

Here is one:
A Crowd of Small Adventures

That is my cousin, Jack Wilcox singing and playing guitar, and nearly stepping on the lizard. I remember Jack as a very quiet, very blonde little boy at the family Christmas party every year at my grandparent's house. Who knew he could command so much attention by standing and singing in front of people. He has a unique voice, both lyrically and acoustically.

Chani happens to be in this video for a small moment - one of the onlookers at the boxing ring. Her boyfriend, Scott is one of the Thompson boys who created the video. Mike and Jerry Thompson directed it while Scott was working the camera - or at least one of the cameras. They have done some other videos and even a feature length film called Thor at the Bus Stop, which is the makings of a serious cult classic.

My kids and I love this song - Bang Bang - and the video. We hope you like it too. For your viewing pleasure you can check out a few more videos by the Thompson Brothers at Vimeo.

And you can find more songs by A Crowd of Small Adventures here.


Les said...

Hello Jessica,

Thank you so much for pointing me to your post! I've not only just finished listening to "Bang Bang", but I went to their site and listened to the entirety of "A Decade In X-Rays" and I must say, I'm really glad I did. Your cousin is most certainly the creative force behind a good band. (and I don't just haphazardly thrown that out with every band someone recommends).

I will buy.

From a critical standpoint, (and your cousin may or may not want to hear this) due in small part to where they are from (I assume from your post Las Vegas), and also due in small part to what I hear musically, they will inevitably draw comparisons to The Killers. I think that comparison will be entirely fair. They write better songs than The Killers, however, and his vocals are certainly more dynamic. There are turns in "Death of an Idol" for example that are absolutely terrific.

A Crowd of Small Adventures has tons of potential commercially, because these songs have mass appeal. They are poppy and well written, and with the right combination of luck and work they could hit something big. That being said, there probably isn't a whole lot of things going on here that are entriely original. Which is okay too. It just means that all those things combined will land them with mixed reviews critically, I'm afraid. But who can ever tell what "the critics" are going to like? It certainly isn't what drives true artists to create, however, and I hope that more and more people are turned onto this band.

aubtobobtolob said...

I love that you did this one!
They ROCK... and we know it.
write more often and I will check more often, I miss you.
hands down.

justin + camille said...

Mmmm . . . I really like A Crowd of Small Adventures! Thank you for the musical recommendation! Justin and I are always on the quest to find good new bands and music. I think that's one of the things that brings us really close together is our passion for quality music (and I'm not necessarily referring to what's being played on the radio these days). Justin and I have very similar tastes. And it appears that you have similar tastes to us! Have you ever listened to Noah and the Whale? Or Breathe Owl Breathe? Or the Fleet Foxes' "Winter Hymnal"? These are some of our more favorite musical flavors. I will definitely be checking out more of A Crowd of Small Adventures!

JaeReg said...

Les -
It would seem that introducing you to any bit of music is no light matter.
My sphere is so tragically small, my ear so untrained, my brain so void of critical analysis. This is how I listen to music "Oh, that song makes me feel happy. . . melancholy. . .in love. . . like I want to clap. . . dance . . .smile . . . complain"
You have a fierce eye for detail.
There are a few things I admit in sheepishness in light of your comments:

1. I still have not listened to all of "A Decade in X-rays." A few songs, but not all of them.

2. I can't say I have ever heard, or heard of The Killers. The internet in it's depth should be able to solve that for me.

3. This I do not say in sheepishness - someone should be paying you for your critique. You need a column in Rolling Stone, or some such periodical devoted to music.

Glad you liked

and I need to get schooled.

JaeReg said...

Camille -
So happy to be able to share something flavorful with you. I also like to find new music, but my life now does not lend itself to time spent in that pursuit so I like when others put it in front of me.
The only music I get from the radio is on NPR - which can highlight some amazing and far flung music every now and again.

I've not heard Breathe Owl Breathe, but we are big fans of Fleet Foxes and I actually just got a Noah and the Whale album from the library a few weeks ago. "Five Years Time" is a great song.

We'll have to trade some more. Take a look at Les's blog for all kinds of music - he's a true connoisseur.

Les said...

Jessica, I'm sorry. I immediately regretted my comment when I published it. You definitely do not need to get schooled.

What I meant to say is, I liked this band, and your cousin is good. And thank you.

No need to get to know The Killers. The lead singer, Brandon Flowers, is infamously Mormon, so I thought you might be familiar.

JaeReg said...

Les -
You needn't be sorry at all for your critique of Bang Bang. It is precisely why I was interested in having you listen to it. You have very seasoned, very interested ears. Matt and I both thought your response was great.
What you had to say was way better than "Hey, that was good. Thanks."

My response was definitely not meant to make you feel bad. It was conversation. With a smile.

And Jack is my second cousin anyway. So, you know, I'm not all that sensitive.

chaniriiell said...


I'm excited about this post that I had to comment NOW! But I can't leave a real one yet because we're about to go the mall to finish christmas shopping.
you are awesome and I love you.


chaniriiell said...

also, listen to Les. Just checked out his musical selection and what do I see right in the beginning? ...
Elliot Smith, SUFJAN(!), Bon Iver, The Shins, Arcade Fire..

mmmm hm