I’ve had Coastal Car’s “Lossless” on repeat for the past couple of weeks now and I don’t think that I’ll be getting sick of it any time soon. “Lossless” is an album full of perfect bedroom pop tunes. Think Yuck crossed with Carseat Headrest and that will put you pretty close to what is going on aesthetically here.
There’s more than that though. The harmonies and guitar work on “all i wanna do” shows a hint of Pixies, while the guitar harmonies on that track and “trade centre way” are reminiscent of Rogue Wave. Every song really captures a relaxed approach to songwriting; with one part flowing seamlessly into the next, effortlessly.
The latter half of “Lossless” moves from the folk-ish “halfway” to the layered, delicate guitar work of instrumental “belong reprise,” one of the album’s highlights. That track seems to beg for lyrics, while simultaneously sounding like a song that you can’t quite place. It’s like the interwoven melodies are lodged in the collective unconscious, begging to be let out yet not being able to quite come to fruition.
Album closer “f u n” perfectly encapsulates everything presented throughout the album. It’s another perfectly crafted, and catchy-as-hell bedroom pop song. Like the words that don’t exist on “belong reprise,” I can’t quite put my finger on what images are being conjured up in my mind as I listen, but they do seem like fond remembrances. I’m just going to have to continue listening until I figure it out.
“Lossless” is available digitally, with a limited number of cassettes still available from Already Dead Tapes & Records. You can check their bandcamp for this and a whole slew of other great albums.
I’m going to start the week on a much more relaxed note than I usually do. The latest release from the small-batch vinyl and tape label Already Dead released Deep Waters’ latest six-song EP offering as a limited cassette, as per usual, but has also made “Visions in Flame” available as an even more limited (only 25 produced) cassette bundled with a full color, hand-made book. You can check out the detail of the book in the video preview below.
The limited edition book looks to truly be an extension of the music. As a companion piece the design, with pictures of the American landscape deepens the country inflected folk that Deep Waters presents us with throughout “Visions in Flame.”
Specifically, the songs create a laid-back atmosphere that takes equally from the sound of Jason Molina and Canadian country-folk-rock band Cuff the Duke. The up-front vocals, somehow both perfectly mellowed and rough around the edges, are nicely contrasted with lush reverted lead guitar lines that emerge from the arrangements organically. The mostly instrumental “Holiday” opens up with co-mingled lead lines from steel string acoustic and reverbed electric before the vocals and ubiquitous supporting vocals enter, building up the texture little by little across the brief song, clocking in at just under two minutes.
The highlight across the EP are the perfectly executed harmonies. Take, for example, the opening track “Golden Flame;” the interludes interspersed between the verses add an affecting lift to the underlying rhythmically active foundation. The entire release seems to focus around these guitar breaks, maintaining a timbral similarity throughout. Such a focus is always something that I appreciate, it never fails to help an album to cohere, and this album is no different. The ambience curated across these six tracks, with the guitars and understated backing vocals occasionally backed with a delicately played piano, evokes the image of an intimate setting, perhaps in a small performance; or listening to the car radio on a cold fall day early in the morning down a quiet back road.
“Visions in Flame” is currently available from Already Dead tapes. You can listen to the entire album above and head over to Bandcamp to pick up the limited cassette with or without the special edition book.
It’s not too often that a release catches me off guard. Usually by about halfway through the first track I know exactly what to expect, for better or for worse. Not so much with this latest tape from Portland’s The Binary Marketing Show. As the first track unfolded I was expecting an albums worth of slowly unfolding synth ambiance and atmospherics, but every expectation set up by one song was dashed as the next entered.
I’m not saying that every single track is a hard left-turn into unexpected territory, but the soundworld in which they are operating lends itself to so many different approaches, and infers much more than any one track could ever hope to capture. Sure the opening track is pretty atmospheric, but as “Picnic On Makemake” begins we can hear some guitar peeking out through the synths, and most jolting of all when compared to the first track, “I Could Live Without a Hand,” is the intense bass rumble and dual vocals. The thick low end that enters, and the way that it combines with the vocal is very reminiscent of Baths’ “Cerulean” album. Definitely a good album to be reminded of.
Midway through the album “Lost After Nightfall” takes us into yet another direction with something that starts out sounding like Boards of Canada though eventually that fades to the background as a warped undercurrent takes over. “Weather Balloon” immediately pulls in a different direction with buzzing synths, a bit of rhythmic crunch and a more standard song structure. “Out of the Void” brings things toward Starfucker territory, with a guitar more or less front and center at the outset, though it eventually fades back into the texture.
This is probably one of the most interesting tapes that I’ve heard in a long time. Every track is brimming with different ideas, unexpected twists, sometimes some catchy hooks, and a lot of experimentation. What more could one ask for?
Find them around the internet at the links below. They also have a show coming up on May 1st if you are near Portland, check their site for details. And check out some of their other releases as well.
Web//Buy “Anticipation of Something Else”//Facebook//Twitter//Soundcloud//Bandcamp//
Here’s what went up on the blog this past week, in case you missed it:
Monday: The 13th part of my continuing trip down Sonic Youth memory lane. This week’s post focused on “Sonic Nurse.” Only a few more to go.
In Memoriam Sonic Youth XIII: “Sonic Nurse”
Tuesday: More music from the endlessly prolific Ty Segall. This tune coming from his latest project, Fuzz. The 7″ single also features a track by CCR Headcleaner with all proceeds from digital download sales going to help music education programs in schools.
Stream: Fuzz/CCR Headcleaner 7″
Wednesday: Purling Hiss is re-releasing their debut album on a very limited number of LPs and cassettes. Grab ’em while you can:
Stream: Purling Hiss s/t 2009 limited edition re-release
Thursday: Stream latest from Chat Logs. Their EP “Am I Right, or Am I Right?” was released on Already Dead Tapes and is definitely worth a listen.
Stream: Chat Logs – “Am I Right, or Am I Right?”
Friday: Squarepusher writes music and has it performed by robots for some reason. Check out the video.
Video: Squarepusher w/Z-Machines – “Music For Robots”