The Beets

“Doing As I Do” – The Beets

Simple and garage-y, but with a nerdy, sing-songy sort of poignancy to it as well. Kind of like the Ramones crossed with They Might Be Giants. And surely this begins with one of rock’n’roll’s more memorable opening lyrical salvos: “Don’t be afraid, you will not die/And if you die/Whatever.” Who says rock music is over and done? Despite its musical homage to Nuggets bands of the ’60s, this is not a song that could have been written before the 2010s, I don’t think.

I like how “Doing As I Do” puts out this bashy, proto-punk vibe with hardly any audible electric guitar. An acoustic rhythm guitar, not necessarily entirely tuned, drives the song’s fuzzy, lo-fi ambiance. Listen to how thin and squashed the drum sound is, totally lacking both three-dimensionality and tone, and as such all but perfect in this setting. Frontman Juan Wauters likewise is recorded in such a way as to emphasize his voice’s thinness, one might even say its whininess, except that that implies that it’s a bad thing, which it’s not. Like the acoustic guitar, he’s not precisely on tune at all times either, and this is also how it must be. Supporting everything is the song’s uncomplicated descending melody, which in my mind creates the image of those cube-shaped children’s blocks with letters on them. Foundational, playful, nostalgic.

The Beets are a quartet even though there tend to be three people in the group pictures. “Doing As I Do” is a song from the album Letting the Poison Out, the band’s third, and the first for Hardly Art Records. Some may find it interesting to know that Hardly Art is the smaller, nimbler sister label to indie powerhouse Sub Pop, founded in 2007 by Sub Pop founder Jonathan Poneman. Others may enjoy knowing that the album was recorded by Gary Olsen of The Ladybug Transistor, themselves featured here back in March. The fact that the band loves Howard Stern and MAD Magazine and Keds sneakers, well, everybody likes knowing that, right?

MP3 via Hardly Art.

  1. Grant on Tuesday October 4, 2011

    Love the song. And I’m continually amazed at your ability to describe with words – precisely – what I’m hearing. Your exceptional and offbeat talent bring to mind a Don DeLillo quote:

    “How liberating to work in the margins, outside a central perception. You are the ghoul of literature. Lovely.”

    You belong in a hall of fame somewhere.