Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Fat History Month on Bedroom Suck Records
Jeff from Fat History Month sent me their single a couple weeks back now, and it's been blowing my mind all last night. I can't stop thinking about it...and it's not even specific melodies. I have to listen to it constantly because I can't recall them. The minimal safe pictured on the cover should have been a hint, it's understated, and maybe not the kind of safe you immediately think of. This is so concise, restrained and emotional, they get into the dynamics of Explosions in the Sky, those really beautiful little melodies and at the same time experimental and as complex as Jim O'Rourke and Gastr Del Sol. An amazing set of compositions from a duo out of Boston.
"Safe & Sound", on the A-Side just has an insane amount of dynamics, I love this quiet guitar that creeps out of nowhere, and picks up in bursts to this expansive melody. To get this range of sound on vinyl this perfectly silent at points is a feat in itself. The repetitive structures come across like June of '44 or Tortoise tracks, classically influenced, complex. The percussion right along with it equally as intricate, with valleys of slow... down to next to nothing, it's completely quiet.
They have this huge warm reverb on the guitar, bouncing all over everything...really a duo like this are the only combination this loose structure can work with, to be so inherently in tune with each other and getting these subtle changes, or giant transitions with a look. You just have to know what each other are about to do in a pretty telepathic way. I think that live it must allows for a more free-form performance, it doesn't always have to be about this military memorization in hours of rehearsal, with the two of them, I'd bet they could improvise (and have) an entire show.
The tiny piece of a verse, close mic'd and barely sung that leads into another plateau of guitar is like Slint. It's massive epic explosiveness and unnatural guitar, they aren't power chords, they aren't singing.
You get an idea of this from their bandcamp page, which has a track called just 'Safe', now I'm thinking this A-Side is actually two tracks? (I would say 99% it is- ed) Damn, that's good.
The B-Side, "Here Comes the Sun", starts with a single lonesome chord, repeated, waiting for the sound to completely disappear before hitting it again. I'm also getting a Harvey Milk tension...and the sound of this room, the scrape of the chords, the experimentation and minimalism, a hint at distortion, plucked harmonics. Are they still playing? It's always about to start, and end.
This can be played so loud, trying to catch everything and when it picks up, it's natural. The vocals here eventually too are up close with another layer of yelling far off in the background, but it's this constantly shifting guitar work I'm completely into. The changing rhythms and melodies with perfectly balanced drums, from the subtle passages to crash fills. I think it comes from appreciating a straight guitar sound, letting everything breathe, actually paying attention to the instrument with a huge space. More than a really nice melody (they won't let it hang around long anyway) it's playing with the idea of the guitar being able to work as everything, an entire orchestra, and they pull it off.
It's coming as close to that complex, math, instrumental, indie rock as I've ever heard. A pitch perfect single with a xerox insert of the recording info and lots of shoutouts to all the friends that made it happen.
Initially I was worried that this was only available from the Australian label, BedroomSuck Records, but thank god you can get it from Fat History Month direct on their blog. Not that I don't think airmail from Australia isn't worth it. If you don't want this single after checking out the video...I don't know if we can still be friends.