When I was a high schooler, the Hugs were the local band scenesters loved to shit on—probably because the group was so perfectly poised for mainstream success (and if there’s anything Portland’s cultural arbiters hate, it’s an artist aspiring to be meaningfully successful). They were young, talented, had a reasonable national following, and had secured opening slots for big groups like the Walkmen and the Dandy Warhols—huge feats for such a young band, whose members were still in high school. Shortly thereafter, the group was scooped up by esteemed British label 1965 Records, and had reportedly entered the studio with White Stripes producer Liam Watson—but then everything seemed to fall apart. The 1965 debut never materialized, and the band was essentially reduced to a solo vehicle for singer/songwriter Danny Delegato. Feelings of Life, the latest LP released under the Hugs tag, is a bizarre and indelible marriage of Revolver-era psychedelia and radio-friendly, Prius ad-pop. It doesn’t do a lot for their cred, but hopefully earns them the recognition they’ve long deserved. MORGAN TROPER
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