Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Art Museums on Slumberland Records

This single "Dancing With a hole in your heart" is on a yellowy opaque almost fluorescent vinyl, perfect for the Bauhaus, Peter Halley inspired pastel sleeve, and if you've learned one thing about the Museums it's that there's going to be a foundation of crazy percussion sounds that could only come from the wing of the synth museum next door. Where they find these giant machines, with the wire connections like old telephone operators, the dials and switches for changing soundwave shapes I'll never know, and from the sound of it, no one else does either. They take the bass side of these low tech sounds, combined with a minimal guitar line and those layered harmonies...which makes it sound easy...but this fine line of '60s psyche, early experimental electronica and waifish sneaking pop is too weird to have ever existed before. An entirely new manifesto for music making.

"Imaginary Day" on the B-Side has a shimmery surface guitar and double time rhythm. They effortlessly work with the bare bones sound of decidedly old technology and compose shifting multiple harmonies over this demo sound, making the sum bigger than the pieces.
Next up, "You don't want to live like that" is another complex rhythm with the most inorganic sounds against this angelic vocal. This one should really have been a contender for the A-Side track. I'm in awe of this combination. The heavy low end bassline and that clack of a digital snare. The guitar here has a new depth that's not like the usual indie-jangle they go for, but every track is an exercise in experimentation. Not unlike deerhoof conceptually, it's a blank canvas, and they don't ever hesitate.
I never considered this being on Slumberland, but of course it makes perfect sense. The labels historic pop sensibility would support this weird new wave classic folk, a futuristic reinterpretation of Simon & Garfunkel. The Art Museums vocal harmony is the smart bottom line that's going to carry this the furthest. At the end of the day they can pen such an unnatural pop song that couldn't be from the era of sound it consists of. That gives everything a truly unique feel, like the great artists of any movement, they've created their own niche and never wavered from this completely single minded vision.
Both of these singles offer a glimpse into another incredible full length and these singles are both essential. I have to have everything they put out, they are always worth tracking down. My only question really is what a live show might possibly be like, and I should be so lucky.
You, reader, are lucky this is ridiculously cheap and plentiful from Slumberland, the way a consistently amazing band's releases should be.

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