The name “Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin” needs a comma. It should read like “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” In fact, every time I see the band name, I imagine a Peanuts-style drawing in which the late Russian president and Snoopy are standing on top of a tank, defying the hardline Communists in the coup attempt of 1991…but maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, the name Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is awkward, but indie-rock band names are supposed to be awkward. They’re supposed to fit on a concert poster under “Guided by Voices” or “Archers of Loaf.” Never mind that those bands don’t really exist anymore: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s music sounds as if the ’90s never ended. With guitar-based, off-kilter arrangements, flirtations with experimental noise, surrealistic lyrics, and affable, laid-back vocals, the band often sounds like Pavement’s better-adjusted younger brother.
That said, SSLYBY’s story is totally 21st Century. Formed by students in Springfield, Missouri, the band set up a home studio and recorded their relatively lo-fi debut album, Broom, in 2005. They put some songs on their website, where bloggers found them and made the band into an online sensation. Soon, their song “Oregon Girl” showed up on an episode of The O.C., and the band started recording with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla. (Now there’s a man who knows a thing or two about awkward band names!) SSLYBY’s subsequent albums, including the recently released Let It Sway, don’t have the same homespun charm as Broom, but they show a band growing into its role. Soon, new bands will try to imagine their name fitting on a bill under “Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.”
SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN: The Loft, Friday, November 19, 8:30 p.m. 858-534-8497. $12.