Younger Shoulder's gentle jangle rock probably won't make for the most raucous live show, but its sweet depression sort of grows on you, especially if you like to play low-key music while you craft things on an afternoon at home. Nothing on the Seattle band's eponymous recordreleased in August on digital download and cassettewould sound out of place on an LP dug out of an alt-folk bin from the 1960s. Singer and band songwriter Jacob Jaffe's soft, mid-range vocals hint at Daniel Johnston's loopiness at times, too.
Younger Shoulder hits the catchiest stride with songs like "Wtvr" and "Slowly," which both play up the kind of self-absorbed lovelorn vibe that resonates with me and, I suspect, a lot of my fellow privileged, neurotic twentysomethings. "I'm slowly destroying myself, and I can't find anybody else," begins the too-short "Slowly."
Plenty of bands have made it big when they started suppressing their quirk and amplifying their hook-writing ability. I wonder whether Jaffe is a determined indie guy suppressing his pop sensibilities or a more avant-garde fellow with occasional moments of pop brilliance. Bands have found success both ways, but far more often as the former.
Younger Shoulder plays Zoo City Apparel with Seattle's Richard Album and the Lifestyles and Missoula's Needlecraft Thu., Sept. 13, at 8 PM. $5, all ages.