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The Advantage @ BOTH, 1/14

Nintendo for the New Millennium

For those of us in our middling to late 20's, there's much to cherish about that decade situated squarely between 1979 and 1990. We know this, of, course, because we were there and were young enough and silly enough to consume every last bit of hairspray, Garbage Pail Kids, New Wave, and MTV that popular culture thought to toss our way. I mean, how can we hate the stuff we spent all our Christmas money on? Thank god, then, for the 80s revival of the last 5 years. Not only has it allowed us a sentimental feeling towards what once seemed to be the armpit of all decades but it also spiked a demand for Members Only gear and drove up the prices at Salvation Armies everywhere. And that's a good thing, boys and girls -- that money goes to charity.

And then there's the music. Who among us isn't a bit flabbergasted at the amount of 80's pillaging current rockers are doing? Most of it doesn't quite sound like the original stuff, but every so often a band seems to come along that does it right. Or at least does it differently. Take The Advantage, a hard rocking outfit with a rock-solid credo. In their own words, The Advantage intend "to have recorded every Nintendo song by the time each member lies dead".

No, they are not the first rock band to reinterpret the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), and very likely they will not be the last. The Advantage are, however, doing a bang-up job of it. While they're still a ways from their goal of recording all of the soundtracks from the 7,000+ Nintendo releases, the songs that they have conquered are well-edited, specifically titled, and often pleasantly surprising. For example: Bubble Bobble, Super Mario Brothers 2; Overwold Theme, Gremlins 2; Level 2, Contra; Aliens Lair+ boss, and Metroid; Kraids Lair.

Nintendo music historically fit a particular style -- highly melodic and monotonously rhythmic. With only three simultaneous voices to work with, the compositions often featured blazing fast melodic lines designed to overshadow the platforms polyphonic limitations. The Advantage have the necessary chops to pull this sort of music off. They careen through the speedy numbers on their fuzzed-out guitars with a reckless certainty. Unlike some of the other Nintendo cover bands out there, who strive for an electronically precise interpretation of the genre, the Advantage, while hitting the notes spot on, do so with just enough artistic license that a "post-punk" or "garage rock" moniker seems fitting.

The Advantage are a retro-modern personification of the warm fuzzy feeling that comes about during childhood reminiscence. We all loved the NES. Some of us owned it, some of us didn't but desperately wished we did, and some of us just spent way too much time across the street. The Advantage are keeping those days alive for us, one level at a time.

The Advantage
Bottom of the Hill, Thurs., 1/12
(Record release show: new record January 19th on 5RC/Kill Rock Stars)
with Sleeping People & Saulouah