Ali Koehler has drummed for Vivian Girls and Best Coast. She currently writes songs, sings, and plays guitar in her punk pop band Upset. She lives in Glendale, CA with her husband Eloy where they are currently amidst their annual rewatching of all six seasons of MTV’s Jersey Shore.
My first impression of Hinds, back when Leave Me Alone came out, was that their name sounded like Haim and that they were garage rock. I was like, “No thanks!” For some reason, I imagined them as a European stereotype (not unlike the Spotted Ox Hostel sketch from The Kroll Show). I pictured “cool” girls who wear leather jackets and sunglasses indoors and smoke unfiltered cigarettes. I pictured girls who would be mean to me and refer to me as “the fat one.” So I took the preemptive strike of not giving them a chance based on my own insecurities and internalized sexism.
When I started I Don’t Run, I was surprised that it sounded like the Strokes. The guitar solos sounded Albert Hammond Jr.–esque, the bass lines were sometimes Nikolai, the vocal effects were a hint of Julian. (Yes, I’m on a first-name basis with all of the Strokes except Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi. Albert is way too regal not to be called by his full name, and Nick is way too hot to just be Nick.)
This is the perfect time for an album like this. I was just on tour playing drums for Allison Crutchfield, and all we listened to in the van was early 2000s albums like Mirah’s You Think It’s Like This but Really It’s Like This, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Fever to Tell, and the Strokes’ Is This It? It feels like it’s been enough time, and we should be revisiting some of these sounds.
As soon as I heard “Soberland,” I thought, Please don’t be coked-up dickheads, please don’t be coked-up dickheads, because I really, really liked what I was hearing. Once I finished the album, I was like, OK, lemme get more of a handle on where they’re coming from. I read interviews, album reviews, and watched some music videos. That’s when I learned this album was produced by Gordon Raphael, so I was RIGHT! This DID sound like the Strokes!
Their vocals vacillate between laid-back cool and bratty gang vocals. Their instrumentation is sometimes simplistic, but intentional. That’s a hard line to straddle, because too simple can often equal boring, but musical overindulgence without the songwriting chops is majorly gross to me. Hinds straddle the line of talent and instinct masterfully and make the most of what they have to work with.
Maybe it’s because I just watched the Before trilogy, but I really wanna go back to Europe. I could picture myself listening to this album on a train while silently judging the other passengers. I love this album as a grown-ass woman, but could also see myself playing it to death during my semester abroad, or while practicing parallel-parking for my driver’s test. I also just really like the sound of someone with an accent singing in English (specifically, Nina Persson of the Cardigans and Dominique Durand of Ivy and Paco). Let’s see how many more Google Alerts I can trigger in the hopes of forging a friendship…
Adam Schlesinger, Greta Gerwig, Sebastián Silva (Hinds: he should put you guys or your music in one of his movies, btw), Timothée Chalamet, Karen O, Adam Sandler…
When I finished I Don’t Run, I actually started it over again. This is saying A LOT, because I was weaving in and out of LA traffic and hiding my phone as I passed police on motorcycles. Plus, I really only ever listen to Howard Stern these days, so for me to even listen to music while driving is a major endorsement of this album.
It’s so refreshing when women like each other, and you can tell the members of Hinds value one another’s friendships based on their interviews, like this one from Billboard (“We’re family…we support each other”). They seem funny and self-aware. I can also tell they aren’t impervious to the inevitable shitty remarks and comparisons when you dare to be a woman who draws attention. Dear Hinds: When the noisiest, meanest comments and reviews are echoing in your head, I hope you think of my review. Your instincts are good. Keep trusting them! You have talent, and deserve everything you get. Now, please don’t have some weird scandal and make me eat these words.
ANYWAY, I hope this is the kind of indie hype that launches a respected career with longevity for Hinds (a la Phoenix or Courtney Barnett), and not the kind of hype that peaks with a yogurt commercial and fizzles out as you run yourselves ragged from touring relentlessly and all the free beer turns into a serious drinking problem.
The archaic concept of wanting to keep bands you like for yourself is lame. I want Hinds to blow up even more than they already have. I want them to go mainstream and show a generation of young folks how it’s done. These are my kind of girls. Viva Hinds.