Kids These Days, Mathian

When: Sat., Nov. 24, 7:30 p.m. 2012

Kids These Days are one of the local music scene's favorite feel-good stories: in one frequently repeated anecdote, MC Vic Mensa was hospitalized after trying to sneak into Lollapalooza in 2010, then ended up onstage at the festival with the band the next year. Kids These Days are a talented bunch (most of them studied at the Merit School of Music) and their mix of jazz, hip-hop, funk, rock, and soul has impressed some well-placed people: in April members of KTD backed Frank Ocean at Coachella; in June the group played on Conan; and last month Rolling Stone premiered their self-released album Traphouse Rock. The record is plenty ambitious, sometimes to a fault—there are too many cooks in the kitchen and often too many moving parts in the arrangements, so that songs such as "Ghetto" get bogged down by incongruous horns and flashy drumming. The kids seem so eager to show off their skills in admittedly impressive solos that their songwriting can feel like an afterthought—especially when they re-create portions of well-known tunes. Hearing pieces of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?" reimagined as feckless piano parts on "Doo-Wah" just makes me want to listen to the original. But there are shining moments on Traphouse Rock, including the sinister "Don't Harsh My Mellow," and they prove that Kids These Days can put together a hell of a song when they're not distracted by their own resplendence. —Leor Galil Mathian opens.

Price: $15, $13 in advance

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