The New Year Newness Ends

As the brain-trust of Bedhead, brothers Matt and Bubba Kadane wallowed in the thick of a mini-movement of indie pop that barely moved at all - molasses-y confections of sauntering beats and moodily pretty melodies. Bedhead stayed under the covers for good in 1998, but the Kadane brothers have resurfaced as the New Year, whose first resolution seems to have been to speed up. Everything's relative, of course, especially when your drummer is Chris Brokaw, who used to drum with Codeine and whose beats-per-minute count roughly equalled the heart rate of a hibernating animal. True, the New Year rarely break into a full gallop, but they do canter along smartly at times, which is fine, except that they just don't seem to know what to do with themselves at sprightlier tempos. The Kadanes are still at their affecting best when the beats are plodding and the mood is lugubrious, and on those tracks where the tempo picks up, they sound more like they're parodying other bands than playing in earnest. Perhaps the real cause for celebration is not the formation of the New Year, but the fact that it has prompted a sort of belated wake for Bedhead, whose dolefully lovely trio of albums are now being reissued by Touch and Go. (Touch and Go)