When bands like The White Stripes, The Strokes and The Hives commandeered the airwaves in the early 2000s, it seemed an indicator that the musical masses were looking for a return to simpler rock. The White Stripes showed that a guitar and a drum kit could make big noise; The Strokes offered brilliant storytelling and clever arrangements over simple chord progressions; and The Hives took their cues from the Rolling Stones. Bands like California-based The Heavenly States—Ted Nesseth, Genevieve Gagon, Jeremy Gagon and Masanori Christianson—have stayed the course, playing down-to-earth garage rock but adding varied flavors and sounds to keep the music moving forward.
On their latest release, Delayer, HS offers samples of how easy it is—and how great it sounds—to mix it up a little. "Never Be Alright" and "Roses" have the scent of old country tunes, "My Little Friend" spits out squeaky little horn lines in the intro, and "Pathway Dreams" offers a lesson in how to appropriately use strings in rock music.
When there's press about The Heavenly States, it usually includes flattering comparisons to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, the fact that HS shared space on a 7-inch with Coldplay and The Postal Service and the claim that they were the first rock band to play in Libya. But any column inches they possess are also usually filled with reports that HS live shows are not to be missed.
May 11 with Golden Spun and Just Desperation, 9 p.m., $3. Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., 208-336-5034.