Tugboat Hard Time for Dreamers

Tugboat’s debut, Hard Times for Dreamers, is as charming for its effort as it is for its execution. The band is one of those rare cases in which their raw passion for the music they make carries the songs as far as the actual quality of their work. While their influences (Built to Spill, Neutral Milk Hotel, Guided by Voices) are as obvious as a white rapper with a bleached buzz cut, the album gains appeal through it. From the squalling guitars in "This Puppies Gonna Blow” to the complacency of "Pretty Thieves,” there are few moments when the band lets the conventions they employ define them. So, while Hard Time for Dreamers doesn’t help indie rock’s current hesitation to move beyond the 1992 to ’98-era Chapel Hill/Matador sounds, it does help to pass the time until someone finds something better to do. (Independent)