On Range Life, Pavement sang of skating through the summer night, the suburbs stretched and ripe:
“Out on my skateboard / The night is just hummin’ / And the gum smacks are the pulse / I’ll follow.”
Though Hoops’ sound couldn’t be further removed from their Stockton predecessors’, it’s the same wide-eyed willingness to follow the beat that gives their debut its charm. Sparking into life with ‘Sun’s Out,’ the record has all the loose-limbed hope of a warm day in June. Packed with sun-glazed melodies, and easy hooks; it’s an invitation to slip into an old pair of trainers, get high and head where the day takes you.
Which isn’t to say the record is just a collection of sticky stoner-isms. A quietly expressed millennial dread runs though the album’s 11 tracks. “Don’t it feel like every evening / something new to cloud your mind,” goes ‘On Top’, while ‘Burden’, a typically silky slow-jam, shows a dark side to stoner-antics: “When you get so high / You forget who you are / I don’t want to be a burden.”
If you’re looking for summer background jams, ‘Routines’ is that. But it’s also an album that rewards repeated listens, teasing darker meanings while rubbing sun-tan-lotion into your back and handing you a spliff. With summer peeking it’s head round the corner, it’s a record you’re going to want to add to your collection ASAP.
Don’t take our word for it though. The Bloomington band were kind enough to answer a few questions about the band, their local scene and what it’s like gearing up to do a full album:
For the uninitiated, who are Hoops and how did you get here?
The band has existed in a couple of different incarnations over the years, but the present one started in 2014 as a project of Drew’s. He wrote an album of stuff under the name Hoops, and recruited us (Keagan and Kevin) and some other folks to play it. After playing a few scattered house shows here and there, we all began to take it a little more seriously and started doing 4-track tape recordings, which was kind of the catalyst in getting the whole thing moving. At the time we were in school a couple of hours from Bloomington (where Drew was going to school), so we would finish classes on Fridays, pack up our music shit and drive down to spend the weekend staying up all night recording in Drew’s living room or playing basement shows.
No joke, like for the better part of year it was back and forth like that, which was pretty disastrous for our grades, but a labour of love all the same. Anyhow, those tape recordings were what initially started getting people into us, and before long we wound up signed to Fat Possum Records and started plotting tours out to the east coast and down south a little bit. In a very short amount of time, we were doing like ‘real band’ shit and ended up releasing an EP with the label and doing longer tours. We all pretty much dropped out of school and made this our full-time thing, and that’s where it’s at today. We just finished our first full-length record a short while ago, so now we’re just gearing up for its release and a whole hell of a lot of touring to support it.
You guys have made your name as an EP band. How have you found it translating that short-form magic into a full LP?
I really don’t see the two as any different from the other. One is just a bigger collection of songs. For our record we have 11 songs instead of 5 like our EP. I hope people see our record as a good amalgamation of all of the different sounds we have tried on in the past.
Bloomington hasn’t really been on our radar until now. Talk us through the scene?
It is a cool town and I like living here most of the time. Such an incredibly diverse scene. Hard to find two bands that sound exactly alike. Would be hard 2 pin down what exactly the “sound” of Bloomington is. Also the “scene” is so big that you can have giant groups of like-minded artists that don’t interact with other artists in the so called “scene.” Pretty much there is something for everyone in this town. Listen to Manneqin, Bugg, Her Again, Spissy, Amy O., Brownies in Cinema, Laffing Gas…All amazing Bloomington bands!
You guys have been over in the UK for 7 dates, what do we get from the live show?
Our live set is pretty energetic. People have told us it’s good? Idk we just like to rock out. We’ll be playing a lot of songs from the full-length as well as some deep cuts. Just come watch us play, DUH!
Our live set tends to be a little heavier and louder than our recordings suggest, which really just makes it more fun for us, and hopefully everybody else. We try to get the live show in tip-top shape before we tour, like making everything as tight and practiced as we can, so that when we go to play it’s like a second nature type thing and we don’t have to concentrate just on playing. Like feel the vibe of the room, soak up the scenery, you know? Love the UK by the way, we only got to play in London for a couple of shows last time, but this is a proper tour to a bunch of sick cities, and we are really looking forward to it.
What next for Hoops?
We’ll pretty much be going back and forth between touring and taking stretches of time to work on our next album. Our tentative tour schedule looks pretty intimidating, but that’s just the grind of doing this sort of thing. I think we’re all pretty stoked to be gradually working on the next record, like taking our time to let the songs (which we have already begun writing) marinate a bit, so that hopefully we can release something we’re all very into when the time comes. Additionally, we all do our own music apart from Hoops, so that will probably occupy a fair bit of our off time.
Listen to the new album ‘Routines’ in full below.Posted by Rob Knaggs on 09 May 2017.