What's the difference between being nostalgic and liking stuff from the past? I don't know either but I like Gardens, even if there's nothing earth-shattering about their sound. This is guitars, bass and drums played by four young guys who wear tragically hip clothes and turn the reverb way up until everything swoons. It's a 4/4 beat and a few chords and lyrics like "It is hot / And I feel like taking a swim. / It is warm / And it's nice to sit all day." On the song "Teachers," from their eponymous debut album, you can hear the sneer of Iggy Pop. "Ideas to Use" is laconically intense like the songs on Velvet Underground & Nico. They play gritty, psychedelic garage rock. It might not be as novel as the new Kings X album, but who said you have to do something new to do something well? Gardens are catchy and fun and exciting, especially when they let their influences loose and free themselves. When a chorus of girls joins in to spell out the nonsensical phrase "Maze Time" on a song of the same name, you can't help but be hooked.
Gardens plays the Badlander Monday, Nov. 7, at 9 PM with Courtney and the Crushers and Cat Heaven. Free.