Drum machines are rarely appropriate in rock ’n’ roll. Too many bands with quirky guitar changes and shifting rhythms that make them especially ill suited to programmed percussion are resigned enough (or brash enough) to plug in their drummers onstage, dooming their sets and boring their audiences to tears. But Colleen Green’s
lo-fi garage, full of three-chord progressions and one-string leads, is so basic that it’d feel almost decadent if she used anything but an outdated, temperamental drum machine. On the new Sock It to Me
(Hardly Art), Green relies on a gentle kind of cool, carried by her stark but light vocal melodies and matter-of-fact lyrics. The best tracks are driving and simple in concept (“When He Tells Me,” “Heavy Shit”
), but when Green tries to add some darkness (on the brooding title track, for instance) the canned beats sound gothy instead of quirky. Things work better when she just lets herself be playful—in this case at least, less really is more. —Kevin Warwick Cosmonauts, Jaill, and the Garden open.