Label: None Release date: 11/01/10 Website: http://www.thehushnow.com Built To Spill have been masterfully combining Doug Martsch’s ear for pop melodies in his warbly tenor and their own post-shoegaze homegrown jam tendencies for well over a decade. Having known and now being friends with the band, I can honestly say that they are all as wonderfully kind as they might seem. Enter The Hush Now, Boston’s possible response to the Idaho forerunners, albeit with more conspicuous keyboards and without the love of double tracking. While the band is currently without a label, their decidedly fresh take on what could be a stale sound places them at the head of the list for a nice little deal. Lead singer’s Noel Kelly back-of-the-throat scoops and post-Kevin Barnes tenor meshes nicely with the layer of guitars and deceptively simple bass line (all backed by a steady drum beat and kick drum placed right at the forefront of the mix). While the keyboard hook chimes away over washes of vocals and nicely placed harmonies “Aaah” away, Kelly wonders, “How did you get so high?” Hearing this build up reminds me of the better pop music of the ‘90s, complete with an almost cathartic chorus outro. Each key change is impeccably placed in the overall scheme of the song, twisting and turning the song through the motions without ever seeming really dull or derivative – in fact it does the opposite. The Hush Now are wholly unique, the summary of their influences both obvious (BTS, Guided By Voices, a dash of My Bloody Valentine) and more obscured (I hear a bit of Big Dipper in there, Apples In Stereo, and probably a little Mike Kinsella). All in all, The Hush Now have something other indie pop bands don’t – an actual sense of “pop” outside of a pop context, primarily due to these influences. While I’m sure Kelly’s vocals will be a turn off for people who tire of the tenor led pop scene, anybody else wanting to see the light will be heavily pleased by their output. Rating: 9/10