Today – S/T EP

Today
S/T EP

I feel like all I’ve been listening to lately is firmly grounded in stuff that’s been done to death decades ago, or perhaps that just leans a bit too heavily on that material. Today, instead, reinvigorates me. This New York City band reminds me why, in my freshman year at college, I discovered that I truly loved college music. That’s right, you heard me. College music. Before the word “alternative” got used to death and ruined by grunge and the mainstream. Today would have been the standard bearers of college rock, or perhaps they still are.

That’s not to say they sound like 1992 college music, but there’s a quality here that just screams fresh and not ready for primetime. Perhaps it’s in the slightly quirky song structures, or the melodic improvisational guitar lines. Perhaps it’s in the light yet tight drumming, or the mixture of keyboards into the songs. Maybe it’s Millie Benson’s vocals, which remind me equally of That Dog and Eric’s Trip. Regardless, this is music meant to be indie, and in accomplishing that goal, Today undoubtedly succeeds.

“Lazy” has that kind of feel that you get from the more pop-oriented Throwing Muses or maybe Belly songs, with a bit of vocal-oriented quirky pop thrown in ala That Dog. It’s an intriguing combination and one that I haven’t heard before, but it works, with Millie Benson’s pretty vocals and soft “wooo-oooo” backing vocals being the focus. Even better is the stellar “Today” (every band needs an album and song title named after the band). Reminding me of early Frente! and Madder Rose, this song has plenty of rocking guitars and cool keyboards with a calm, indie rock beat. “Robots,” in turn, has bits of Eric’s Trip in it, with a kind of moodier song structure and an almost improvisational feel, especially in the drums, which just go off at one point. And “Sea Travel” finishes things up with a bit more of a poppy, bouncy feel. It’s a nice way to end things, and it really does leave me wishing this was a full length.

The folks in Today keep busy. Guitarist and songwriter David McClelland was in Craw, but the music is nothing like that now, and he mostly plays with improvisational acts in the city. The other members each have other bands they play with, and I suspect each is vastly different from Today and each other. That’s what is so great about them. These folks have no preconceived notions, no feelings of what they must conform to. Sometimes a little originality is a beautiful thing.