Wednesday 16 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Aye, Robot

Aye, Robot

Yes, Lousy Robot knows its songs sound happy. Yes, Lousy Robot knows they’re actually sad. Yes, Lousy Robot wants you to dance anyway.

Joshua Boydston April 20th, 2011

Lousy Robot with People, People
9 p.m. Thursday Opolis
113 N. Crawford, Norman, 820-0951

Indie pop isn’t the first thing people associate with Albuquerque, N.M. The city is better known for hot air balloons and green chilies, but it did give us folk-rock favorites The Shins.

Now, Lousy Robot attempts to tread a similar path out of the desert. It’s made progress in spreading its music nationally through television, finding its tunes on MTV and Bravo. And bassist Dandee Fleming’s favorite placement? “Man v. Food.”

“It was in Detroit, the episode about the world’s largest hamburger. I heard it organically, didn’t even know it was being placed on the show,” he said. “One of my friends hit me and said, ‘That’s you.’ I was like, ‘I’ve never eaten a hamburger that big.’ Then it dawned on me that our song was playing.”

Finding their music on the boob tube is surprising in more ways than one. The perky, upbeat melodies certainly seem like a perfect match, but the cynical, disheartening lyrics residing underneath don’t. It’s been described as “the happiest music ever about feeling sad,” and the despair often takes a few listens before it manifests.

“When people see us live, they come up to us and say, ‘These songs are actually kind of sad, aren’t they?’ They definitely are,” Fleming said.

Anguish has always been at the heart of songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Jim Phillips’ work, and the rest of Lousy Robot was OK with that … but decided to fight that gloom with a little gleam.

“What ends up happening is we have this song that is musically upbeat and poppy, and the lyrical content isn’t necessarily so,” Fleming said. “A little bit of it is a conscious decision. We want people to be able to dance around and have a good time at our live shows, so we go that direction.”

People say, “These songs are sad, aren’t they?” Yes, they are.

—Dandee Fleming

The success they’ve had is a testament to that. Since forming in 2003, the ’bot has released three albums, including this year’s “Hail the Conquering Fool.” Having shared the stage with the likes of adored Oklahoma bands Colourmusic and Shiny Toy Guns — and Stillwater’s People, People, come Thursday night at Opolis — the group seems well poised to become Albuquerque’s next big export.

“Sometimes people around here think that because The Shins came out of Albuquerque, no other band can get that big,” Fleming said. “They can, though, as long as they’ve got something worth listening to.”

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