Everything about the Cribs looks, sounds, and smells of rotten little boys running about the yard in summer, ears in desperate, adorable need of a good scrub. On their upcoming endeavor, The New Fellas, the brothers Jarman, who hail from Yorkshire, play jolly, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants pop that makes you want to pinch their cheeks pink. Lanky, adolescent vocals, harmonized as only three brothers can, are backed up by haphazard "whoa-whoas" and "la-las" and casually tossed into the mix like tighty-whities thrown into the laundry for Mum to wash. Endearingly sloppy, slap-happy guitars wrestle around with pain-in-the-ass-but-ya-gotta-love-'em drums that set a bratty, insistent pace or show off with cheeky fills. And tracks like "Hey Scenesters!" and "Martell" (which begins, "How can it be/ To get a slap on the back from a room full of morons") playfully give trendy hipsters a big, fat wet willy. Line these boys up hip to hip and I bet they've got birthmarks that spell out "Next Big Thing" across their cute, flat, British asses. Don't show up late when the Cribs open for the Kaiser Chiefs and Brendan Benson on Monday, July 25, at the Fillmore; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com for more info.
-- Rachel Devitt
Some pop bands take a slow-release approach to songwriting, sticking just enough melody into a track that you have to come back a half-dozen times before you feel like you've really heard it. Man of the Year is no such band. The Portland act is the kind of chorus-loving, hook-'em-through-the-nose-in-the-first-15-seconds rock group that will no doubt break a hundred hoodie-covered hearts in Stumptown when it gets stolen by a larger public after this tour. Tony Lash (Dandy Warhols, Tahiti 80) and Jeff Saltzman (Death Cab for Cutie) handle production on MOTY's latest, A New and Greater Tokyo, and both of them went a little nuts with the major-label sheen in the studio, prettifying an already pretty power record to the degree that some of it veers into Alan Parsons Project territory. Live, though, the band sticks to a simpler formula: fast-acting pop with nose-hooking melodies aplenty. Man of the Year performs on Tuesday, July 26, at the Bottom of the Hill; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com for more info.
-- Chris Baty