Release Date: May 5, 2017
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Shoegaze
We are lucky to live in an era where great dream-pop revival artists are abundant, but Bloomington, Indiana's Hoops immediately stands out from the crowded field with their absolutely terrific and addictive debut full-length album. Started as a recording project in Drew Auscherman's teenage bedroom, this is their first release (after three cassettes and an EP) to be recorded at least partly in a professional studio (namely Rear House and with ace engineering by Woods' Jarvis Taveniere). Each member sings and writes, but collectively their vocals and melodies will remind listeners most of first hearing Wild Nothing's early singles, their first album Gemini or DIIV's 2012 debut Oshin.
Named after the hoop houses at a day job (not basketball), Bloomington, Indiana's Hoops make their full-length debut with Routines. It follows a handful of cassettes that landed them a record deal with Fat Possum, and a D.I.Y. EP that generated a certain amount of buzz and anticipation in the indie music press. Given their reverb-heavy, lo-fi complexion, it was intriguing -- perhaps alarming to some -- to learn that the band logged their first sessions in a professional studio for the album.
Hoops is a band that is deliciously out-of-time, but not by much. Maybe about seven or eight years. Had this four-piece from Indiana sprung up around the same time as groups like Wild Nothing or Teen Daze, people would be having a fit about how fantastic they are. But no, the primetime moment for dreamy-sounding guitar bands as seemingly passed us by.
Hoops were born on a cassette reel. Since launching as the solo bedroom project of Drew Auscherman, the Indiana band has made the tape its preferred format. It's the format they used to independently record and distribute their first three song collections--accurately titled Tape #1, Tape #2, and Tape #3--selling them at shows on tour and accumulating a following physically and in-person.
It's funny to think we're far enough out from the late '00s to have hazy memories of chillwave, a genre meant to evoke hazy memories. Hoops seem to have a pretty clear recollection, though. On its full-length debut, Routines, the Indiana foursome goes 2010 in a big way. It's an album of floaty melodies, hypnotic grooves and melty, warbling guitar sounds.
Hoops began life as frontman Drew Auscherman making ambient music in the bedroom he grew up in, carving out a solo existence based around Oneohtrix Point Never’s ‘Replica’. You could never tell that was the case now, however, with three of his friends having helped build his songs into something completely different. ‘Routines’, the Bloomington, Indiana four-piece’s debut, is full of sunny slacker-pop that shares only a few similarities with the band’s starting point - largely, how blissfully chilled out it is.