TVD Recommends: Antarctigo Vespucci at Asbury Lanes, 11/13

Alright, I’m going to be completely honest here—I’ve never heard of Antarctigo Vespucci. I’m not even sure I can pronounce it correctly if I had to, and this isn’t some secret treasure I’ve been sitting on to tell people at parties, “Oh, you know who you should check out? Antarctigo Vespucci, they’re good.”

It’s because I know absolutely nothing about this name that I checked it out when I saw it listed at Asbury Lanes tonight. My first thought was—I wonder if this is an Italian pop singer, booked ironically, who will be so intensely committed to his act that by the end of the night you can’t help but look at your friend or whoever is left standing in the vicinity and surrender a compliment, “You know what? This kind of thing ain’t my thing, but he’s pretty good. If I was into Italian pop music, Antarctigo Vespucci is probably all I would listen to.”

But alas, and perhaps luckily, Antarctigo Vespucci is not an Italian pop singer. It’s …well even their own label isn’t completely sure of what they are.

From the Quote Unquote Records website: “I’m not sure what Antarctigo Vespucci is. Calling it a band started by Chris Farren (Fake Problems) and Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb the Music Industry!) wouldn’t be quite right. Calling it a recording project sounds too serious. Basically, this record sounds like two buddies sitting in a small room in a Brooklyn apartment in winter having a good time making fuzzy pop songs, and then asking a few more friends to jump in on the fun!”

Fair enough. Not everything has to be something. What these Brooklyn buddies came up with is called Soulmate Stuff—seven tight songs that cheerfully blow, by daring you not to re-listen to them. And as long as I’m gushing out truths here, I will admit that the first song I jumped to was “I’m Giving Up On U2” thinking perhaps they were harboring some of the same conflicting emotions about everyone’s favorite Irish rock ‘n’ roll super heroes now that they seem to have settled into their role of keeping relevant by being pitchmen for Apple, leaving their new albums in your library like leather-clad Santa Clauses in skull caps and dark glasses. But no. This song mentions no disappointment with Bono. U2 isn’t U2. It’s you too.

The song however is catchy as hell. Almost like Weezer, if they drank two or three pots of coffee and still gave a shit about being Weezer. Hooky melodies, some nice harmonies, with the distortion pedal always on.

On Halloween they released a four track EP called “I’m So Tethered,” which picks up where Soulmate Stuff left off. Hooky melodies, some nice harmonies with the distortion pedal always on, and loud and punchy dynamics wrapped around some solid songwriting.

So, whatever the hell Antarctigo Vespucci is, or going to be, I’m glad they’re out playing these songs live, and I’m glad they’re doing it at Asbury Lanes where it wouldn’t have mattered if they had turned out to be Italian pop singers.

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