Dayton, Ohio, is one of those hotbeds for music that rarely gets the attention it deserves, with an independent music scene that has produced the likes of Guided by Voices. While Motel Beds have hung around the Dayton scene for a few years now, These Are the Days Gone By finally puts them in a good position to join that upper echelon of Rust Belt artists. Their first release on Misra Records, the album is a collection of previously released tracks remastered by Carl Saff (Dinosaur Jr., GBV) paired with two never-before-released songs from the band’s vault.
Motel Beds have found a niche with their excellent songwriting; the pair of Tommy Cooper and P.J. Paslosky come together to craft some of the better hooks you’ll hear from an indie rock band stranded in the middle of the country. “Smoke Your Homework” is a rollicking good time with the exact kind of attitude you’d expect based on the title. “Surfjerk” is reminiscent of Harlem’s garage rock sound, displaying infinite youth through earwormy guitar riffs and dominant drumming. The catchy guitar carries into the next track, “Valentimes”, which is the album’s standout, in which plucky guitar and moaned lyrics sync up with upbeat drums.
There isn’t much fluff on this album, just solid rock ‘n’ roll. An acoustic cover of Matthew Sweet’s “I’ve Been Waiting” brings the mood down for a beat, but it’s not long before “Smoke Your Homework” picks the energy right back up. Kelley Deal of The Breeders (another band with close Dayton ties) appears on the layered “Tropics of the Sand”, bringing some much-needed energy to the proceedings and proving that Motel Beds are versatile enough to fit any format. This isn’t the record that makes them the next GBV, but it’s one that proves Motel Beds are worth keeping an eye on.
Essential Tracks: “Valentimes”, “Surfjerk”, and “Tropics of the Sand”