Like any good music, it instantly gets you. Grabs your attention. It can be out of nowhere too. For me, those are the moments that make music just right. Hell, perfect. Those few moments when you hear a track that you know will take you places and really speak to you whether you’re happy, sad, want to jump up and dance or cry into oblivion – music just makes sense sometimes. This was just the feels I had when I first tuned onto the sounds of Hoops.
I came across Hoops on one of my regular late night hunts through the Twittersphere of the World Wide Web. After doing my homework on any band I get excited by, I discovered that Hoops was born out of the bedroom of frontman Drew Auscherman. After some early demo’s and a few rally cries to some other local musicians and friends, they began to take shape into the sound we know (or you will eventually get to know!) today. After a series of homemade cassette tape releases and a self-titled EP in 2016, Hoops have really picked up momentum with some high praise from music stalwarts such as NME and The FADER. The Indiana band certainly have the skills to back up the tunes. Three of the four members write and sing, each a frontman and a sideman simultaneously. During a live show, the bandmates can be seen frequently swapping instruments and positions on stage.
Tonight sees the band’s first ever visit to Manchester and the Northern Quarter’s Soup Kitchen. Coincidentally the release of their full length debut album ‘Routines’, is released the next day, but the punters are reassured anyone wanting an early copy will be in luck come the end of the gig (much to my delight). A recent tour with Indie darlings TENNIS wouldn’t have dampened their fan base and ascendancy in promoting the new music. But you can clearly see the excitement with the band as they begin their set on their very own tour.
The opener ‘Rules’ just sets the night off as it should – Power-pop chords and melodies to die for. If this was the first time you were ever listening to Hoops, you would swear you’d been listening to them for years. The familiar sounds that many Indie bands may convey, Hoops manage to hide the complex guitar playing and the craft put into the songs. Basically, the talent on show is clear. I always think, regardless of whatever you may think in music taste, any good gig goer or music lover should appreciate craftsmanship. Hoops certainly have that.
The great thing about seeing a band play their songs live is also seeing them enjoying themselves too. As the gig goes by, we are treated to a little Q&A from the band. From the on goings of the Trump (what band doesn’t mention that these days?!) to a little chat of Manchester’s favourite (definitely) sons, Oasis (maybe). The friendly nature of the band translates well to the audience and the spirit in the room grows as the gig goes by. ‘Management’ is another instant, infectious tune. The more I listen to this band, the more I am constantly reminded of the early workings of MGMT and Indie new boys Whitney.
‘On Top’ really shows the bands skills, as an assortment of vocals brings the song to life. The gig ends to a roar of disappointment, but after a cheeky request from the audience, we are treated to a very early song from Hoops, that is also given a disclaimer that the band “-may struggle to remember how to play it”! The boys pass the test with flying colours – it’s like riding a bike; you never forget.
There is something sweet natured yet venerable of Hoops’ sound. The kind of music you could declare your feelings to the love of your life, but at the same time contemplate all the wrong things with it too. As festival season is upon us, I highly recommend you go and see them.
After the gig has finished, I immediately purchase a copy of the album. The debut album is filled with warm familiarity and a distinctive sound that will be easily referenced in years to come as the ‘Hoops sound’. For four guys making music with clear craftsmanship to boot, it’s clear that these have set the path for something special to follow in years to come. If you haven’t got Hoops in your life, then you only have a pleasant surprise to come when you do discover them.