The Soft Pack, "The Soft Pack" (Kemado)
Release Date: February 2, 2010
San Diego-turned-Los-Angeles-based four-piece the Soft Pack made headlines in late 2008 for changing its name from the Muslims-a moniker that reportedly subjected the band to what it called "racist" and "ignorant" feedback. The group's music, though, caught the attention of bands including the Breeders, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party, for whom it played opening dates in 2008 and 2009, and the act's three EPs have earned it devoted fans in the United Kingdom. The Soft Pack's debut full-length is a tight, rhythmic set that guitarist Matty McLoughlin says was influenced by listening to "a lot of R.E.M." Compared with the band's earlier EPs, the record is "more of a straightforward rock album and less of the lo-fi garage stuff," with darker tones and themes than previous work-although album opener "Come On" "is pretty catchy," McLoughlin says. "After changing the name and that whole fucking fiasco, we wanted it higher fidelity but still tougher-sounding-or as tough as we can sound."