About a year ago now, we lost it over the evolution of Brooklyn indie rockers Sam Champion, somehow morphing from “that local band” into a swaggering tour de force. Then, we warned that “nothing they’ve set to tape” did ‘em justice, but their new songs had all of us in the crowd at Bowery that night predicting the next record would be a beast. And finally we have something to back it up.
Back then we called out the Champ’s Pavement pounding, their Crazy Horse affection, their alt-country affectation. A new album’s on the way, and here on first single “Like A Secret,” their best yet, we’re hearing a new dose of melody, arrangement, and wit (“We make a pretty good team / You and me and your money”). It’s not entirely a band de novo; the Malkmus sludge rises during the deconstructo bridge, Noah’s voice still an off-kilter weapon — but the summery mix of slide-guitars and tom-slapping verse beats round the sound into an easy blend of breeze, and bombast. Something we didn’t see coming from the Champ, and a perfect twist for ‘em.
The band has a sold-out gig at Mercury on Wednesday (4/4); we suggest scalping. If not, take a tent down to Bonnaroo, where Sam Champion will be among the million other bands worth camping for. Or, just be their friend.
No album title so far (though we hear Champion Shmampion is on the shortlist), and no label. Yet.