so I got Illinois' seven song EP "What the Hell Do I Know?" the other day, and it's fantastic. I wrote about a few of their songs a couple weeks ago as well.

Illinois are from Bucks County, PA, and are on Ace Fu Records, also home to Pinback, Kaiser Chiefs, Annuals, etc. They play eclectic, interesting indie, briefly reminiscent of so many good and different bands that they sound unique. The EP is great almost the whole way through, except for the last track, which sounds tacked on or unfinished. They're hard to classify really, other than just plain good indie rock.

The first track, "Alone Again," is Broken Social Scene-ish cracked pop with a really rich sound, and is followed by "Nosebleed," which starts out with "Mellow Gold"-era Beck banjo and a fuzzy beat, then gradually adds sounds and a catchy little banjo refrain. "What Can I Do For You" is the most straight-forward number on the CD, a bittersweet piano-focused song, briefly sounding like Badly Drawn Boy or something of that ilk. "One on One" sounds very British, with all the towering fuzzy Anglo-guitar indie of Ash and vocals that sound a bit like the guy from Placebo. "Screendoor" sounds like what would happen if Neutral Milk Hotel upped the pop quotient a lot, resulting in happy, catchy fuzz-folk. And "Headphones" is busy, with competing guitars and crashing cymbals, sounding energetic like the Arcade Fire. The last track, "Bad Day" is a guy talking over more buzzing drums. It's OK but could have been left off.

The songs fly by, all at 3:14 or less, and I almost wish they were longer. The briefness accentuates the difference between all the songs, but that makes me wonder how it translates live, since the songs differ so much from one to the next. However, judging by the energy of the disc, I bet they're pretty impressive. They'll be playing a bunch at SXSW this week, and will be in DC May 12. I'll be there.

MP3 - "Alone Again"
MP3 - "Screen Door"

their Myspace
Official site
Ace Fu

Photo from their myspace

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