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Automatic City

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Album Review

With the opening percussive groove and clean riffing of "Detox," Controlling the Famous effectively sets listeners up right away for what lies ahead on their excellent and unpretentious Militia Group debut, Automatic City. A consistently enjoyable listen, their brand of melodic post-rock has subtle hints of technicality that might seem like indulgence in other bands, but for them remains wholly listenable and satisfyingly digestible throughout. You can simultaneously sing along to the often-dueling vocals of guitarists Max Hellmann and Johnny Collins, while tapping along lightly to the driving and smooth rhythms of Mike Schneider and Brendan Hughes supporting them, as on tracks like "Heart Attack." As such, Controlling the Famous manages to be altogether invigorating on a cohesive and refreshing album that owns no filler. From straightforward rock ("Easy Life"), pulsating desire ("Two Sides"), and nocturnal reflection ("Long Day"), the quartet performs with an organic, fluid efficiency that never falters. Sure, a comparison to the equally pleasing Minus the Bear would be somewhat relevant, but the band's music has enough charm to stand strong on its own. While the band may have crafted the album around themes of urban living, Automatic City is a sonically smooth and light listen that is far from any of the implied chaos associated with city life. Though the lyrics may suggest otherwise, if this is what living in Los Angeles sounds like, consider a seat on the next flight to LAX booked.


Formed: 2001 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Los Angeles-based Controlling the Famous revel in an angular, groove-driven blend of melodic post-rock somewhat similar to the styling of bands like Minus the Bear and Cursive. Most of the group initially hooked up while attending college in L.A., but finding themselves in need of a new drummer, Max Hellmann (guitar/vocals), Brendan Hughes (bass), and Johnny Collins (guitar/vocals) turned to the popular website craigslist. Mike Schneider answered their ad, and upon jamming a few times together, quit...
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Automatic City, Controlling the Famous
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