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Lo-Fi Sugar Rush: Puffy Shoes

Ian Martin of Japan Post’s 2009-in-review piece has a lot of points worthy of discussion (preview: you can expect something about his section on electropop in the near future), but the best bit comes at the end when Martin lists five bands he could see having big years in 2010. The group from his list that has impressed me the most so far is garage rockers Puffy Shoes, a two-girl group out of Tokyo.

It’s sorta surprising this band made a “watch in 2010” list considering their sound is very 2009. Specifically, that “sounds recorded in a bathroom stall” quality best associated with shitgaze and artists bound to appear on lots of year-end lists Wavves and Best Coast. Then it dawns on you one of the most hyped up American bands heading into the new year is Sleigh Bells who do the exact same thing, and it all sort of clicks.

To be fair, Puffy Shoes belong more in the Vivian Girls camp of “artists who make sweet ’60s influenced rock but probably can’t afford more than an hour of studio time.” Push through the warehouse fuzz and you’ll hear charming girl-group pop about pizza and boys. “Junk Food” finds the duo listing off all the trash they’ve eaten in a week while the music bobs ahead behind some bells and simple guitar playing. Puffy Shoes even wipes the grin off their face so they can let out a sigh on the downtrodden missed-connection number “You Never Know.”

It’s on the barely a minute long “Boys Don’t Like Me and My Puffy Shoes” though where the band’s potential becomes clear. Built behind a drumbeat ripped straight out of a beach party movie, the duo bust out a caption-length slice of oldies rock capturing the romantic frustrations of young adulthood. The girls shout “I want a boyfriend” over and over again until the title gets dropped in as well. It’s a short blast of fuzzy rock that sums up being young and lovesick more precisely than a song triple it’s length.

So yeah…keep an eye on this band.