"Michael Jackson is our favorite artist," J. Fina said. "We have that in common with Kanye West."

"Michael Jackson is our favorite artist," J. Fina said. "We have that in common with Kanye West."

Another trait Fina's band Chelsea Automatic shares with hip-hop's grandest auteur is a tendency to talk big. They regale interviewers with tales of hard-drinking rock star excess; their bio proclaims them "the most important band in America;" they titled their upcoming EP "Before We Were Huge."

Chelsea Automatic is far from Kanye levels of pop wizardry, but they're getting better at backing up their boasts. The songs they've compiled so far for "Before We Were Huge" are punchy rockers laced with pop pheromones, inhabiting a sweet spot in the narrow terrain between Phoenix and The Strokes.

The EP, which may expand into an album depending on how many tracks they record this winter, would already be finished if their preferred studio, Central City Recording, hadn't shut down temporarily to move to the new Wonderland building.

"We're in a period of mourning," guitarist Alex Scott Donaldson said.

They've been seeking out a suitable location to resume recording. In the meantime, they'll play Ravari Room on Friday with Vancouver solo act Val Halla, who just wrapped up a tour with Ted Nugent. The band met and befriended Halla at the hotel bar when both acts played the Florida Music Festival.

"She was the only girl that could drink as much as we could," Fina said.

The band is primarily focused right now on churning out more studio tracks, especially after MTV decided to include their song "Death of Me" in an upcoming episode of "The Hard Times of RJ Berger."

"We're trying to just constantly produce in the studio," Fina said.

Drummer Jim Possible chimed in: "Like Kanye West."