This came to me a little while back and with the Superbowl being this weekend (right?), this might be the most appropriate time of all to throw this single on from Football Etc. out of Houston.
"Away Game", on the A-Side has a Tortoise type of production sound; ultra clean, super tight, with spaces between the instrumentation, highlighting the almost free jazz informed melodies that go through an impressive amount of changes. Lindsay's voice just happens to soar above these mathy guitar rhythms, nothing seems to last longer than a measure, playing with the quiet/loud/quiet dynamics of electric picking with minimal basslines, just waiting to fill out the field. James' complex fill patterns slowly turn this sort of random chaos into the giant master plan.
It has the unlikely sound of a band succeeding at adding vocals to epic Explosions, or Don Cab tracks that are somehow equally as compelling. But I think it really came together last night as I was trying to remember these two tracks, and they started unconsciously combining with Sunny Day's Diary, the stutter, muted chords, just waiting a half step to delicately smash in a wall of distortion...without the overt angst and straight out emo yelling from Jeremy Enigk. Not that I didn't love that, but Football etc's Lindsay comes off softer, more Blonde Redhead - never going for the screaming stereotype. Like a similar 3 pieces, Broken Water, or The Big Sleep they have a giant, heavily layered sound with similar understated, melodic semi-shoegaze vocals.
On the B-Side, "XXL" they continue the Football themed track listings, which don't stop at this single either - their album entitled, The Draft reads like Friday Night Lights; 'Safety", "First Down" .... "Sideline". I think I can assume Texas takes Football pretty seriously, and like Soccer Mom, it just happened to be the most unlikely name won out. Not that there was anything in the meaning of Sunny Day Real Estate that had much to do with the music in any way either.
This track starts right out of the gate with a heavy layer of chords, and a compressed, tight smack of a snare. They continue to feel almost instrumental with Lindsay's elongated syllable vocals, which completely remind me of "Circles" that balance out the complex melodies. The lyrics work individually in a sort of haiku prose, almost becoming sound, they just provide an abstract layer to the core melodies, which continue to build over and over, bringing it back down to just muted chord strumming. They create an incredible momentum that keeps showing up again at the last minute to push you back over that cliff.
football, etc. – Away Game/XXL 7”
Released by Count Your Lucky Stars Records, strictly no capital letters records, and Keep it Together Records, August 2010.
Run of 1000; black vinyl.
Side A: Away Game
Side B: XXL
Get this one from Count Your Lucky Stars Records.