Good mail haul when I got back to HQ today:
Eat Skull Wild and Inside CD (Siltbreeze)
Various Artists Shiftless Decay: New Sounds Of Detroit LP (X!)
Rob Mazurek Quintet Sound Is CD (Delmark)
package of six discs from Majmua Music
new cassette and CDR by Current Amnesia
I hope to write about all of this stuff sooner or later of course, but right now I'm listening to the new Eat Skull album for the third time today and it's great. I liked their first LP when it came out, and still think it's better than a lot of its contemporaries, but it hasn't shown a lot of staying power... already Wild and Inside sounds two or three times as good, really a quantum leap. Yes, they are taking steps away from lo-fi, with playing and recording aesthetics that are cleaner and more dynamic, but that alone doesn't guarantee better music -- like a certain Mr. Horseshit has already reminded us, you can't just turn down the distorto without tuning up the songwriting first. I think that's why someone like Wavves will probably never really be able to turn down, because he doesn't seem to have the actual quieter songwriting moves that are required to pull it off. And "quieter" doesn't simply mean quiet, because there's a whole lot of new room to move and dynamics to negotiate if you get even 20% quieter than the oppressive wall-of-static these lofi/shitgaze/whatever artists get stuck behind. Eat Skull isn't afraid of this new territory at all and in fact have plenty to say with it. Sure, they still spend some of this album in the 80-100% volume range, with a few upbeat skiffly and somewhat Beatlesque numbers like "Cooking A Way To Be Happy," and a couple obvious ragers like the overt hardcore nod that is "Nuke Mecca," but it's when they get into the 40-80% range that the album really shines and glows with a winsome but heavy melancholic dream-pop folk-punk genius that takes great words and melodies and swirls them into earned colors like Misfits black'n'blue, Flying Nun/Xpressway grey, and the Hospitals' technicolor wind-tunnel brown (coupla Eat Skullers play on Hairdryer Peace but you probably already know that). And then there's a stunner like the particularly quiet "Talkin' Bro In The Wall Blues," which may get compared to the Blank Dogs with its synthetic drumbeat and lost bedroom feel, but as cool as the Blank Dogs can sound, I always get the uneasy feeling that if his drum-machine got shut off, or his vocal FX got unplugged, he wouldn't be able to continue the song. "Talkin' Bro" is so much more than a drum program with cool/empty sounds layered on top -- it's got true melody, real words, depth, space, and varied colors. And it's not even the best downtempo song on the album -- that would be "Dawn In The Face," with a great melody and perfect female backing vocals. Seriously, this is the best cave pop album I've heard yet in the 2000s, and I think you should check it out.
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Also bought these at Reckless on Saturday:
Kurt Vile Constant Hitmaker LP (Woodsist) Finally!
No Doctors Hunting Season LP (Cock Of The Rock) This album seriously rips and apparently no one else wanted it for $3.99.
Disappears Old Friends 7" (Disappears) Not bad, Side B is a 4 minute number that exhibits some of the extendo-potential that made their live cassette on Plus Tapes a good one.
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