Chris at Folktale Records sent me this freakishly small 5" record, the likes of which I dumbly can't say I have another example of anywhere actually....the great thing is that it fits into a CD-R record 7" style sleeve, which honestly almost made me put it in the pile of CD's I'll never get to. Sorry about that Chris, lesson learned, and let it not be said that 7Inches covers the occasional non 7inch from time to time.
No Babies on the A-Side (?, there's not even room in the gutter for matrix labels) does "Morlocks take Manhattan". Why does this seem so crazy, it's throwing me off just looking at this thing...it's kind of like altogether reinventing the CD format. Here's this object that's the same feel essentially, but only has two tracks....take that CD's!
This side has No Babies sounding clearly like they're in a live room space, performing all together, one take, starting very quietly at first with the hint of a low string instrument, a cello maybe and a post punk off time beat. Minimal electric notes pierce
the soothing female vocals, but it's short lived. They explode into Foot Village bursts of spastic tempo rhythm with yelling vocals and saxophone (?) squeals. These organic sounding additions sound great being a part of this raw performance, and I think I'm questioning exactly what's there because of the sheer free form cacophony style in this middle section. There have to be a heck of a lot of people jammed into this basement space and that deliberate dynamic contrast catches you off guard. I appreciate the vocal about riding in the pouring rain, just barely forgetting about the past few weeks of nothing but and bringing a change of clothes to work again because I just can't bring myself to wear rainpants AND a jacket. Pointless.
Whitman offers, "Here's to denying our existence" on the other side which has an equally minimal soft beginning. Slow acoustic loud picking and a chorus of layered vocals, like an old John Davis single, without the crazy accent....and they then also bang in heavy distortion meltdowns on the left then the right channels making you jump...it could be from a cassette, massively hissy and dense with the layers of destruction.
This brief lyric is all the track needed:
"About a quarter of me hopes that you're happy - and the rest of me hopes you're dead."
This can't be longer than 60 seconds...and the only trouble I'm finding with this format is you have to be really careful about placing the needle down - just a hair past the starting point of this and my turntable wants to automatically reset the needle back to the beginning. Whitman is working on kickstarting his long overdue full length with various packages of color vinyl and playing in your livingroom. Oh the shows I would have in my aptartment like Aimee Mann in Portlandia if I win that lottery I never play.
Not only is it the tiniest record, and reason enough to pick up but, it's packed with a nice printed lyric insert, catalog and download card, with a great skull painting on the cover which is mirrored on the record inner label as well... overall a nicely put together package, with some equally as unusual efforts from both these bands.
Get this one from Folktale Records who have a ton of great releases:
This record starts off with the forlorn and familiar plucking of Los Angeles based, Whitman's guitar, which is shortly joined by shaky vocals that deliver some of his most brutally honest and straight forward lyrics yet. Then things take a bit of a turn as your ears get pummeled with shrieks of white noise and tape garble. A short but haunting journey, showing you Whitman at his best. On the flip side, current Oakland residents No Babies start their song off with a catchy beat, bass clarinet, and vocals that are surprisingly melodic. This is a pleasant surprise for anyone who is used to their energy packed live shows, but it doesn't last long, the beat picks up and chaos ensues, leaving you with an exhausted but satisfied feeling in just under two minutes. This is a one time pressing of 549 5" records on black vinyl. They come in full color covers with art by Anthony Fonda and Christopher Payne and include a lyric sheet and MP3 download card.