STUFF Dream Hits have a retro approach to self-promotion, but word is spreading.
"If I ever see you/I'm gonna spit right in your face," sang Samantha Simon, vocalist of Dream Hits, last Thursday, July 21, at the Middle East in Cambridge. The lyric might contradict the young band's sunny brand of garage pop, but it also exemplifies the "post–Best Coast" girlish angst that Dream Hits is well on their way to mastering.
>> VIDEO: Dream Hits + War Presidents @ the Middle East Upstairs <<
Following a lively opening set of Americana-infused indie rock from South Shore five-piece War Presidents, Dream Hits breezed through their show with the infectiously simple "Bummer" and the sweet melodrama of "Meat," a song that sounded so warm and familiar that even the most intoxicated coeds were bouncing and swaying in all the right places. The real highlight, however, was a heart-tugging cover of the Shangri-Las girl-group classic "Out in the Streets," for which Simon's reverb-free vocals were perfectly suited.
Though Dream Hits is the project of Simon and guitarist Jared Detsikas, the pair fills out their live line-up with friends John Lutkevich (bass) and Bradford Krieger (drums). "We kind of suck at getting our stuff out there, but we have a mailing list," Simon said quietly at the end of Dream Hits' set, an appropriately retro approach to self-promotion. Of course, they also have a Bandcamp (dreamhits.bandcamp.com), which should get their "stuff" — three engaging surf-pop tracks posted in March — out there just fine as the buzz continues to build around them.
After Dream Hits' set, the crowd gradually shrank — kid after kid wandered outside into Central Square for a nicotine fix, only to disappear into the hot summer night. It's a shame, too, because Northampton trio Bunny's a Swine played some impressively weird boy-girl twee, and high-energy headliners Royal Blood pulled off their noise-punk aesthetic with such intensity that you'd have sworn they were jamming in a packed, grimy basement in the early '90s — not a near-empty rock club approaching last call while some piss-drunk middle-aged dude flailed around like a lunatic.