Hoops thrive in the in-between. The Indiana quartet craft hyper-melodic songs, built around power-pop chords, deceptively complex drum patterns, and rock-anthem sentiments that hide some tellingly dark thoughts. Their full-length debut, Routines, sound both warmly familiar and jarringly distinctive. A kernel of ache lies at the heart of each verse and chorus: nothing cynical or pessimistic, just bittersweet and honest. Not knowing the right way to do things, they came up with their own way-a solid DIY philosophy. "We had an idea of how we wanted our music to sound, but we didnt always know how to achieve it," says Drew Auscherman, who plays guitars and keyboards, writes and sings. "There was always some exploring and figuring things out, so it took some time to get to what we wanted to sound like."
Hoops are a self-taught band that started in Auschermans teenage bedroom, where he obsessed over Oneohtrix Point Nevers landmark 2011 album Replica, to the extent that he started making his own beat-driven music. He named the project Hoops after the hoop houses at the nursery where he worked (not for his home states mania for basketball). Eventually he corralled a few of his friends to flesh out his songs, and the music inevitably shifted toward something new: more melodic, more guitar-driven, more extroverted. The high schoolers played basement shows for their friends, mostly cover songs with a few originals thrown into the setlists. "We really sucked," says Auscherman with a laugh.
"It was completely amateur, but so much fun," adds Kevin Krauter, who plays bass and guitar and is one of Hoops three songwriters and singers. "We were writing songs here and there, even though none of us even knew how to write songs." Crammed onto makeshift stages, memorizing others songs while developing their own, the musicians developed a buzzy chemistry that would draw them inexorably together even after they had grown up. "It was just a natural thing that we all ended up doing this to