NOW THAT Tommy Keene's album is in the record racks, the next likely hometown hopeful would seem to be Hyaa! (the name is pronounced as a one-syllable guttural cry). Hyaa! (formerly Sport Turned Spectacle, minus a keyboard player) is currently label-shopping and producing its first album with Athens impresario Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Let's Active).
The band's self-titled first record is an impressive six-song EP, with an austere, stripped-down sound somewhere between Love Tractor and the Pretenders. The songs, including the atmospheric "Love Generation" and savage "Scapegoat," are built around singer/guitarist Alice Depard's intricate, syncopated, jangly guitar webs, with punchy bass from Les Doerfler and propulsive drumming by guest drummer John Moremen (guitarist with D.C.'s The Neighbors).
Singing her own curt, somewhat cryptic lyrics in a husky voice that's a blend of Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith, Despard relies more on sound than sense (if you need to know the words, refer to the enclosed lyric sheet). The EP was recorded at Rockville's Hit and Run Studios with producer Steve Carr, who gets an almost-live sound and retains Hyaa!'s melancholic but danceable aura.
HYAA! -- "Hyaa!" (Fountain of Youth FOY 019); appearing Saturday at D.C. Space.