Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Lazy on the Record Machine Records
Brock contacted me about his band, The lazy out of Kansas City, I should know better than to create any kind of preconceived notion about a band based on their own description... or the name... or even the sleeve art. The Lazy is a perfect example of why you try to wipe everything clean from one day to the next. Each tiny vinyl single is a 7inch blank slate.
But you can't help it...lo-fi immediately comes to mind, maybe it's that thrown together punk, maybe garage psyche, and of course they are all of these and none of them.
Here are some key elements: They are from Kansas City, they feature dual guy/girl vocals, they've played shows in leather jackets and goth makeup and describe themselves as gothic-soul. Granted, this doesn't really even create any kind of clear picture but it's this haphazard mashup is what modern rock is always about, the overused pieces always have life left if recycled right.
This packed 6 song EP is anything but lazy.
"Lin and Gin":
First off to be perfectly clear, this is cleanly produced, not a hint of overblown, peaking sound anywhere. Clear separated elements that sound like early '90s PIL, with the unique phrasing and conceptual subject matter of Frank Black with an anything goes rock leaning aesthetic of The Replacements. Be warned, this review is going to be overly positive and I can't help but avoid these references, these guys are just that good. This entire single may as well be a full length, decidedly art rock - maybe because of the variety of tracks, held together by this nostalgic sound, but mostly because they don't have any master plan in mind, a good track composed of these disparate elements they make their own is rightfully all they need.
"Around" - has a big distorted Blood on the Wall sound. Almost '90s, it's a jagged, cold Pixies sound, angsty...the two of them singing together, the back and forth is pitch perfect with this chorus:
big around as you are tall
Not to mention all these tracks are the perfect punk length leaving you wanting more....why is this one over so soon? There's always a simple, great idea, completely fleshed out and then quickly abandoned for the next one.
"(I'd rather) take the fire", this one has a minimal Pylon feeling, or dare I say even going so far back as X-ray Specs, with a subtle more laid back feel, not quite as abrasive. A mechanical beat, that slight reggae sound, with a muted kettle drum? Layers of slightly off vocals, there's hardly anything here once you get to picking the pieces apart. Sarica Douglas' instincts are perfect, to combine this cold post punk vocal with a more expanded sung chorus, they hit on what makes both of those bands classic.
On the B-Side, "Future Boy" there's a great warped bassline intro that leads to some straight early punk rock with Brock's snotty delivery, playing off Sarica's vocal, easily a lost track from Let it Be, it's that chorus-y anthem for F.U.T.U.R.E. Future boy.
Next up, "Clothes" is the real argument for the second coming of Poly Styrene Sarica Douglas has the attitude and even the fact she's delivering this great vocal about selling your clothes, and not feeling cool around the time of a Janet Jackson album is great.
Like the German Measles, it's really clean art-rock when the talking heads make you nervous and they're combining these weird styles together, anti-performing.
Or Gang of Four's Entertainment!, completely unapologetic and unpretentious combining indie pop with the quiet Young Marble Giants direction.
Finally in "Birthday Letters", which for lack of anything else I'll say has a Replacements feel, because I just can't nail it down, has a deep, Barry White call and response vocal comes in just after Brock's main vocal and is something only the Lazy could think of and simultaneously pull off…so completely ridiculous and non-judgmental, I love that they took this chance, topped off with a guitar solo that drunkenly stumbles around.
This is coming out of Kansas City? I can only equate this to Mission of Burma and Boston or Pere Ubu out of Cleveland, it almost doesn't matter environmentally where they come from as far as their sound, they would be driven to these experimental pop extremes, but I imagine a lack of scene helps to focus the sound, and if you can get like minded people to find each other, and if they happen to be this talented then you get something as special as The Lazy.
300 copies. 100 red.
Listen to the single at their bandcamp page and then go get it from Record Machine.
They are also playing tonight at the Riot Room in their hometown.