Music » Critics' Picks

Little Grizzly

Friday, August 9; Frederick's Music Lounge


OK, folks, it's time for another round of indie-rock Jeopardy! The answer is "a Denton, Texas, based indie-rock band, playing Friday at Frederick's, that takes beautiful, sad and dark folk songs and fleshes them out with full-on rock arrangements and interesting and creative recording ideas." Bing-bing-bing! "Who is Centro-matic?"

Sorry, but the band we're looking for here is Little Grizzly. Little ... Grizzly.

It's understandable that the quintet has a hard time shaking the Centro-matic comparisons. Both bands hail from the same small college town, and they share certain musical similarities -- and because Centro-matic broke first, it's probably inevitable that Little Grizzly will be looked at as Guadalcanal Diary to Centro-matic's REM (or, more charitably, Archers of Loaf to Centro-matic's Superchunk).

Little Grizzly is, however, a great band in its own right. The group's latest album, I'd Be Lying if I Said I Wasn't Scared (Quality Park), is a near-masterpiece, revealing the members' impeccable sense of when to rock things up, when to add cool and surprising touches (such as the Neutral Milk Hotel-ish horns on "Sleep, Foreign Engine") and when to let leader George Neal's acoustic guitar and heartrendingly sweet and sad twang carry the full weight of the song. Live, the quiet parts are even more eerie and the rock parts rock even harder, with guitarist Matthew Barnhart in particular almost flying off the stage in abandon. Little Grizzly's show at Frederick's last spring was inspiring and energizing, a strong contender for show of the year. Don't miss Little Grizzly this time.

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