my old lady
a girl should
few days of storm
nothing but pain
Pat sent me the first couple of singles from his Stumparumper label and I'm going to be talking about them today and tomorrow. Starting off with this single from Scribbler which I loved and have been playing straight the past couple of days.
Scribbler seems to be, according to youtube, a kind of collective of a few people, either that or their friends join them onstage regularly and in the van. I counted at least 6 members playing everything from whipping flexible plastic tubes around to samplers, electric and acoustic guitar. This lends to a multifaced recording where expectations keep getting tossed out.
This single starts out with the perfect A-Side opener, 'My Old Lady' I love this hushed home recording feel.... quiet acoustic strumming, the soft hiss of cassette noise. I'm sure it's going to be compared to something Neil Young or Chad Vangaalen, but those aren't bad things to be compared to let's face it. Maybe it's because he's singing about his old lady, but it's even more to do with the vocals that have a huge far off echo combined with the tender falsetto. There's great little moments of synth and subtle touchs of xylophone, it's easily my favorite on the disc.
It even sounds like the tracks ends with the slow disintegration warp of the stop button.
The next track on the A-Side is a live song called 'A Girl Should'. Someone in the audience says 'Who?" after they say 'Hi, ...We're scribbler', nice touch. At first it sounds like we're hearing a live direction of the previous track. Real quiet electric guitar picking, soft vocals but then blows up with a full backing band country rock style. A burst of drum and distortion just before the verse comes in. But scribbler likes the noise, and not content to just alt-country Palace style rock it out, when the solo slams in it's full of effects waving around. All phaser and delay to take the whole sound in another direction entirely.
The B-Side is where things really get interesting.
Ocean Floor, another live track, gets rocking right away with plenty of low feedback for ambiance. The vocals aren't afraid to crack and scream, we are getting a view of the stark, lonely ocean floor after all. When they get to singing the line 'It was dark!' it's punctuated by feedback and cymbal crashes at a quarter time. There's a lot of references to nature with a capital N in these tracks, but it doesn't feel like they ever end up leaning to heavily on this country staple.
'A few days of storm' finds us back to the 4-track, quiet chord strumming and barely audible vocals. Just enough to hold out for another glimmer of brilliance. The mood is there, Scribbler can change direction at any time to lead you back into the woods.
Nothing But Pain is pure Sebadoh inspired 4-track experiment. The close rumble of scraping mics, slide ukulele, fully blown out vocals, some kind of feedback melody from a tortured microphone. They want you to know they can deconstruct and push boundaries with the best of them.
'zzzzzz' is garage enough, pushing the low of the fi into Los Llamaradas territory.... total freeform garage meltdown. Complete screaming noise rock recorded on the worst device laying around. Take that listener.
The Sleeve is ink so heavy it's raised silver silkscreen, hand numbered by Pat and a great design. I'd tell you what's scratched into the gutter, but you'll have to get one to find out.
Direct from Stumparumper for $4.50...that has to be the most inexpensive single...Pat's keeping the prices down because this thing deserves to be heard.
6 songs, nearly 13 minutes of music made especially for Scribbler's extensive Canadian tour in March. One side beautiful and moving folk, the other an electrified aural thrashing of your senses. Is it really the same band? This long-playing 7" does an excellent job of evoking the excitement of seeing the band live or at work with a 4-track - the rawness of the music, the snide comments of the audience, and the emotion put forth by the band. One is able to hear the many sides of Scribbler on only 2 sides of wax.
Edition of 300 (half of which went to the band) on black vinyl with hand-silkscreened and numbered jackets and hand-drawn labels. Plus some secret messages scrawled into the wax. Most have silver drawn labels, but there are 30 with pink labels and 10 with gold labels.