Free and legal MP3 from the Monolators

B. Holly meets J. Richman in the 21st century

“I Must Be Dreaming” – the Monolators

Doing their best to find the Venn Diagram intersection between Buddy Holly, Jonathan Richman, and, say, Win Butler is the L.A.-based quintet the Monolators, all the while skating somewhere along that fine line that (sometimes) separates garage rock from indie pop. Backed by speeded up, bottom-heavy Cricket rhythms, vocalist Eli Chartkoff here employs an endearing sort of yelling/singing to express the defiant disappointment of the unlucky in love.

Keeping this from becoming just another edgy bit of indie angst is the band’s forcefully choreographed primitivism, driven by tom-toms, handclaps, a feverish bass line, and reverb-laced guitar squawks. As a group they never stray too far from their inner Buddy Holly: check out how the 30-second instrumental break in the center of the song (beginning at 1:13) begins with the band flying in different directions only to coalesce (1:31) into full Cricket mode. These are some of rock’n’roll’s most primal rhythms. They still work because they never stopped working; we just sometimes stop paying attention. This is song is less homage than reminder.

The Monolators began life in 2002 as a trio, stripped down at one point to a husband-wife duo (Eli and his wife Mary), and now appear to be a five-piece. You’ll find “I Must Be Dreaming” on the CD Don’t Dance, the band’s third, which was released this past fall. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the head’s up.

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