From the Archives: Hot IQs-Firecracker
Jeremy from Fingertips joins us each month as he scours the betterPropaganda archives, highlighting gems buried a few years back in our database.
This month we bring you "Firecracker" from the Hot IQs.
Without frills or warmup, a stark, meaty guitar lashes out of one of music's most compelling progressions: a major chord alternating with the minor chord one-half step down. Laurie Anderson famously wrote a long, strange, avant-garde pop song ("O Superman") that featured only this progression and nothing else; the contemporary composer John Adams has displayed his own recurring fascination with this simple, resonant interval. Pretensions to great art aside, these two simple chords sound just fine, thank you, when churned out by an actual rock band; the fact that the Denver-based Hot IQs are even a power trio (guitar, bass, drums) seems even more fitting. Let the minimalists seek meaning in inexorable repetition; me I'm happy that the song discovers a few other chords (I particularly like the Nirvana-ish progressions in the bridge, beginning around 1:35) and some incisive melodies as well. Singer/guitarist Eli Mishkin has a pleasing semi-nasal voice that rounds out nicely in its lower register, while drummer Elaine Acosta, refreshingly uninterested in pounding us into submission, has a marvelous way of letting the slashing guitar inhabit the bottom of the sound. As for bass player Bryan Feuchtinger, well, I don't have much to say, but I didn't want to leave him out. "Firecracker" comes from Hot IQs' debut CD, An Argument Between the Brain and Feet, which was released on a small Denver label back in late 2004, and given a national digital re-release in 2006 on SpinArt Records. The band split up in 2009.
- Jeremy Schlosberg