So So Glos Low Back Chain Shift

In the three years since their eponymous debut, the So So Glos have honed the janglier, poppier aspects of their proto-punk-ish style to churn out a solid set of quirky garage/new wave songs for new EP Low Back Chain Shift. If Vampire Weekend listened to a little more Clash or if the Strokes emulated Elvis Costello, they might sound something like this. The Brooklyn, NY quartet shine on "Live Like TV," where they infuse wider-open spaces with fat guitars that stay masterfully restrained, low in the mix of staccato percussion and ambitious string arrangements. And opening track "Fred Astaire," clocking in at less than two minutes, rollicks through its verses with true Ramones-influenced punk pedigree. With such a thundering start, the rest of the EP might seem slightly underwhelming upon first listen, but there's more than enough boisterous pop experimentation to keep you hooked for repeated listens. (Green Owl)