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Oxford Collapse's Mike Pace is Back; Get in Touch With Your Inner Nerd and Listen to "Fire Sale"

Former Oxford Collapse guitarist/vocalist makes good with a new solo project.

Photo by Ben Rayner

In pop music, "smart" isn’t always a compliment. “Smart” can mean “self-consciously clever,” and it can mean Ben Folds Five. Vampire Weekend are as smart as they come, but I don’t want to go anywhere near that campus if I can help it. There are few hard, fast rules in this life, though, and occasionally “smart” can mean "wise-assed and weary;" think Superchunk and Ted Leo, Cheeseburger recreating the cover of “Nilsson Schmillson” for the art of the Gangs All Here EP, and basically just knowing that punk was good, but so were Big Star.

Mike Pace is the good kind of smart. From his beginnings in the underrated, too smart for their own good, mid-2000s almost-made-its, Oxford Collapse, to his current project, Mike Pace and the Child Actors, Mike has steadily made guitar pop that's as indebted to 80s Athens as he is to UK DIY and the Long Island hardcore he grew up on. His new songs sound peppy as hell, but are still by—and for—complete nerds. By “nerds,” I mean the old kind that like science and Sparks, not the kind that threaten women and are into age-inappropriate collectables.

Mr. Pace (and the Child Actors, who may or may not just be him, repeated into infinity) was kind enough to give Noisey a song off Best Boy, his forthcoming album for Self Starter Foundation. “Fire Sale” is emblematic of all of Pace’s work: punchy, sardonic, and more than a little sad. Check it out.

Best Boy is out 1/13 on Self Starter Foundation.

Zachary Lipez is being clever on Twitter.