There are few programs as annoying on television as those home-makeover
shows were an over-amplified crew of do-gooders descend on the dwelling of
some downtrodden folks to remake their humble abode for the benefit of the
ratings and the sponsors. But it’s hard to doubt the sincerity of the
Michigan City Vandals, who proudly boast of being “post-ironic” and trumpet
the slogan “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Formed two years ago in Chicago’s favorite getaway lake town of St. Joseph,
MI, the group—bassist/vocalist Julee Laurent, guitarist Joey Greenand
drummer Matt Clancy—is donating all of the proceeds from their new D.I.Y.
album “Our Own Little Slice of Hell” to build a Habitat for Humanity house
in nearby Benton Harbor. “We need to raise $75,000 to do this and getting
people out to shows is our best way to sell records,” Laurent writes. Of
course, it’s also the best way for the band to build a following, but the
earnestness of the group’s lyrics is completely in line with the ideals of
its charity work.
Rollicking, optimistic and relentlessly tuneful, the Vandals’ indie-pop
songs take aim at Gen Y apathy and attempt to inspire it to action—all
without taking themselves too seriously. “Corporate TV/Obscures our
realities,” Laurent sings in “Generation Rx.” “Everyone’s a rock
star/Courtesy of Pfizer… Everyone wants to be rich/And everything’s a sales
pitch.” As sales pitches go, this one is pretty convincing, and the
group and its cause are well worth listeners’ attention.
The Michigan City Vandals perform an acoustic show at The Double Door, 1572
N Milwaukee, on June 22 and a full-on electric show at the Elbo Room, 2871
N Lincoln, on July 10. Meanwhile, visit the band on the Web at
www.myspace.com/michigancityvandals or www.michigancityvandals.com.