Grain USA – Billboard CD Single

Grain USA
Billboard CD Single

I get the sense that Grain USA are one of those rare bands that doesn’t really care much what you think of them. They’re just going to play their brand of catchy power-pop to whoever’s there, and people are going to like them, damnit all, for their sincerity and their sheer ability to let loose and have fun. As a precursor to an EP, the band released this cute little 3-song CD single to demonstrate their brand of slightly sleazy power-pop, and it makes me want to see them live, I’ll tell ya that.

The featured track here, “Billboard,” is undeniably catchy, if a tad simple. It’s a formula that’s been done before, and the production sounds very basement-like. Still, the slightly drawly vocals and the rich backing vocals provide nice accompaniment. Even better is the next track, “Always Right,” which has hints of mid-90s REM only grungier, and poppier, if possible. The vocals are even better on this track as well, and if you’re not singing along to this one – at least the backing “awww-awwww” – you’re probably dead. You should check. “Washed Up” closes off the CD single again with hints of early REM and later indie rock. Something about the vocal approach wins me over completely, just the right amount of echoes to impress me, while the guitars have just the right amount of mid-90s Bob Mould jangle.

The packaging on this CD is fantastic, even coming with a little pencil trapped helplessly in the case so you can “pretend” to fill out the little multiple choice ScanTron thingy on the back. Nice touch. It’s odd that I like the two extra songs more than the single here, but that happens a lot. Maybe “Billboard” is their fan favorite, but the other two tracks give me hope in this band and really make me want to see them play a basement as well.