The inimitable Blogger vaporized a lengthy post we contrived last night, a post that sought to illuminate the mystery that is Philadelphia's erstwhile indie rock wunderkinds The Low Numbers. As luck would have it, the hardship inspired us to do something we hadn't done for almost two years -- actual reporting. And that reporting yielded indie rock fruit, people. As usual, it seems all musical roads in Philadelphia lead to the Lilys. But that comes later.
We saw The Low Numbers about eight years ago on a bill wedged between Sonny Sixkiller and Storm and Stress at the Balcony. Or at least that is how we remember it. Anyway, The Low Numbers killed, delivering a captivating set of guitar/bass/organ/drums indie rock that was both dynamic and eery. The music sounded like a sinister twin of Rocketship, and the band even had a look that was great. We don't usually go in for a look, but we were totally buying it that night. Anyway, not too long after we vacated Philadelphia, but the Low Numbers performance stuck with us. We periodically scoured the Internets for information. We turned up the amazing song "Entertain Good Taste," which was released on the mix accompanying Chunklet #14 and is still available for download here, but that just made us all the more hungry for Low Numbers info.
Recently our operative BlastsOfStatic took our quest to ILM, where he turned up the following information: The Low Numbers eventually mutated into a new band called the Hi-Soft, who have a song on a Philly compilation called Hoags. Last night, armed with that information we returned to our old friend Google and struck gold -- a Philly blog that has podcasts that claim to include songs by Hi-Soft. We took a chance and emailed someone apparently affiliated with the band, and turned up being computer screen to computer screen with the bassist for Hi-Soft, a nice person named Jesse. So here comes the payoff.
The Low Numbers were the brainchild of songwriter Gerhardt Koerner, who put the act together whilst in college. Two original members left the band for grad school, and after several more line-up changes Hi-Soft formed. Somewhere between The Low Numbers and Hi-Soft the band was known simply as Numbers (oh sure, now that we know all this, it is easy to turn up good info, like this feature in Philadelphia Weekly), not the same Numbers as the San Francisco-based neo-No Wave act that had that song "Disease" a couple years back. Anyhow, our protagonist Jesse joined in the fray as the bassist for Numbers, and as noted above continues to play in Hi-Soft. Jesse reports that, like seemingly every musician in Philly that hasn't played with the Lefty's Deceiver guys at some point, Gerhardt and drummer Steve Keller did a stint with the Lilys (the list of people who have been a Lily is quite long -- an attempt at cataloguing all of the members is made here at this excellent Lilys fan site) around the time of 2003's Precollections record. The exciting news is that Hi-Soft intends to release an EP this spring on the Chocolate Hearts label and support the release with some shows and a web site.
Finally, just to really nerd out on you, here is the discography of Low Numbers, Numbers and Hi-Soft stuff. Alas, I spent a few minutes earlier trying to find the 7 inches listed below for purchase, but came up empty:
1. Low Numbers - Telekom/ Josef Albers 7" on Numeric (some still available).
2. V/A - Legion of Boom, Philadelphia Pop Comp, vol. 1 on iSPY Records.
Numbers track is "Junior Mornings" Available at www.insound.com
3. Numbers - What Good Girls are Good For/Sunlight Over Detroit 7" on Roof Rack Records.
4. V/A - Hoags: A Philadelphia Compilation on Hot Dog City Records.
Hi-Soft track is "Faith" also available at www.insound.com
5. Forthcoming CD ep on Chocolate Hearts.
Speaking of old music, maybe we are getting on in years here, but it is nice to have something that can evoke the feelings of being a dumb lovelorn teenaged kid. We here at Clicky Clicky find that nothing really brings on adolescent nostalgia like New Order's "Leave Me Alone," from their 1983 full-length masterwork Power, Corruption & Lies. Make a point to dig out your cassette sometime soon.
Scenestars has a nice little blurb about Teenage Fanclub and a link to a new tune. We don't care what anyone says, "The Concept" and "Star Sign" are superlative songs and the rest of Bandwagonesque could be filled with the sounds of cows standing and it would still be an awesome record based on the strength of those two songs alone. So there.
Oh yeah, if you haven't already turned up the Radiohead songs everyone is going nuts about, perhaps there is something of interest to you here.
That is all.