The New Old-Fashioned 

Refreshingly Retro

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Once they'd gotten the aggravation of "You Really Got Me" out of their systems, the Kinks started making sloping, shuffling records that reflected more of their real world day-to-day existence rather than simply aping the R&B stars of America. The Beatles, too, started lightening up and listening to Dylan, and their Help! and Rubber Soul albums introduced an acoustic, campfire element to that familiar rock 'n' roll sound. A handful of current English bands have recently rejuvenated this style, with varying levels of quality and credibility, but the Morning Benders' debut full-length, Talking Through Tin Cans, takes the sound and imbues it with a Golden State sunniness (the quartet hails from Berkeley, California) and a genuinely youthful exuberance that is entirely approachable and appealingly uncomplicated.

Fittingly, they recently wrapped up a stint opening for the Kooks, which included a spot at the Sasquatch! Music Festival in May, and brought their music to a broader audience, learning firsthand how a big, successful band does it.

"The Kooks are really great guys, which is pretty refreshing," says guitarist and vocalist Chris Chu, who is also the band's chief songwriter. "A lot of the time, when you meet more 'successful' bands like that, they are total douchebags, especially to the opening band."

The Benders' ascent has been quick, but not unreasonably so, and the band is certainly wary of getting too much attention too soon. "The 'success' or buzz, or whatever it is, [can] end up overshadowing the music. I think people should be reading and writing about music a little less, and listening to it more," says Chu, who is well aware of the rapid clip at which the brave new world of the blogosphere can chew up and spit out bands. "When it gets to the point where people are writing off—or commending—bands solely because of what they read, that disturbs me. However, I like to think that if you have good music, good songs... people will recognize that. I hope."

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