Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

By land or by sea, fast-rising locals Army Navy to play post-inaugural bash

January 16, 2009 |  2:51 pm

Locals Army Navy are off to a quick start.

In October, the act's self-titled debut album was released on the band's own label, the Fever Zone. In just a few weeks, amid a busy holiday release schedule, the largely unknown independent act has managed to sell around 3,500 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

But the act's momentum began before the self-titled album hit stores. Army Navy managed to score two songs on the indie-centric soundtrack to "Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist," which will be released on video on Feb. 3. Additionally, the band also got a bit of help from "Human Giant" comedian Paul Scheer, who appears in the video for the perky and scrappy guitar-pop anthem “My Thin Sides." Another friend, Pete Thomas, longtime Elvis Costello and the Attractions drummer -- and local session man -- played rhythm on the album.

Front man Justin Kennedy describes the act's music as “guitar indie pop that’s sort of driven by vocal melodies.” Pop & Hiss won't argue and is always happy to have some more hand-clap-enhanced tunes on the local scene.

It's just the kind of fast-moving, upbeat pop music to lift the spirits of those music fans stuck in L.A. during inauguration week. While the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bono and the Jonas Brothers will be heading to our nation's capital, Army Navy will play a Rock the Vote-sponsored “Inaugural Bash” at the Troubadour on Wednesday (Jan. 21) night.

For now, take a listen to the band's upcoming single “Saints." Lyrically, the song is all urban romanticism, and musically, Kennedy nonchalantly sings over a lurking, Strokes-like bass and a wash of guitars, which recall alt-pop cult heroes such as Sugar.

Kennedy answers a few getting-to-know-you questions after the jump.

So what are listening to right now?

Let’s see, kind of a variety of stuff. I tend to listen to a lot of older stuff.  I’ve been listening to a lot of Wings lately, Fleetwood Mac’s "Tusk" album has been [on] major rotation. Tom Petty, for some reason. I’m going through a really late, '70s-like phase right now, kinda classic rock stuff.

In an Army-Navy football game, who would you be rooting for?

I’d root for Navy because I’m from this town in Washington state called Bremerton, and it’s a fully Naval town. My dad wasn’t in the Navy -- he was actually in the Army. But the town that I grew up in, most of my friends’ dads were in the Navy. There’s a shipyard, there’s like, a Naval submarine base, like a nuclear submarine base there.

On Pete Thomas, who stepped in when original drummer Joshua Zetumer was lost to a screenwriting career.

Pete’s amazing, one of the best drummers in the world. We really lucked out.

Do you have a favorite venue that you’ve played?

We love playing the Troubadour, the Echo. The Troubadour is great; it has the history, always sounds good. You feel like you’re kinda right there with the audience. I used to love playing this place in Seattle called the Crocodile Café, but it closed down. In New York, we really like playing the Union Pool. It’s kind of a great little spot, kind of like the perfect-sized venue. It’s in Brooklyn.

What’s next for Army Navy?

We’re working on new songs right now, and probably going to start working on the next record soon, probably March, actually.... The record’s selling really good. We’re gonna try to work it as much as we can, you know we’re really happy with our record so we want to get the most out of it as we can, but we’re excited to sort of follow it up as quickly as possible as well. Having our own label we can kind of pick the dates and do whatever we want, really. I think if we were on a major label, you’re not in control of your own destiny in a lot of ways.

Army Navy at the Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., Wed. Jan. 21, with Glacier Hiking, Sara Haze. Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 at the door. The band will be back at the Troubadour on Feb. 24 with the French Kicks and the Broken West and is also playing the Silverlake Lounge on Feb. 16.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Travis Schneider, courtesy Army Navy's MySpace page