Just got this split in from Harrisonburg, VA's Funny/Not Funny Records, a single under the ominous sounding possible series(?), The Mystic Fortress Sessions, Vol.1 from two Virginia buddies Eternal Summers and a band close to our heart over at Sweaters and Pearls Records, The Super Vacations. Looks like the Mystic Fortress, like all well named forts, is a recording studio where all 4 of these tracks were laid down. It could be the start of a series from these two bands or other acts recorded at the fort?...or it's just an spooky long name.
The A-Side from The Super Vacations features "Picnic" up first. As hazy, summertime as their titles are on this one, with their poppy aesthetic and layered harmonies of vocals, they continue to sound a little dark to me. It's such a weird combination of sunny dread, with all the post punk minimal basslines, and minor key melodies. Even Rob's vocals which blend into this haze can't possibly be celebrating what comes to mind when I hear "picnic". Don't get me wrong it's not ironic, they sincerely feel like Real Estate's type laments about suburbia that come off as sad and nostalgic. Maybe it's this understated way this whole instrumentation is put together, they don't seem to rely on a whole lot of effects or sub par recordings, just the slightly unsettling way it's crafted. Like listening to The Wire, it's all in the economy....or what you might call "songwriting". When you get to the second track, "Beer League", it's no less creepy with the inflection from Rob's vocals, his combination of rising and falling emphasis along with a high (female?) falsetto accompaniment. They're walking that line between a dense experimental psyche and this dark minimal post punk...I don't think I've really heard that in their previous work before...but go listen for yourself. Seriously, like 50 first dates, I wake up everyday excited because I've never heard all these singles! Look at them all!
I'm just hearing Eternal Summers for the first time, who start off with B-Side's "On My Honor", it's a surprise to hear the mellow rhythm and soothing etherial vocal from Nicole, which only amplifies how I'm sure about that eerie tension of the Super Vacations on the flip side. To be basically working under the same premise to come to these completely different conclusions in a lot of ways makes me question the entire scientific community. It's like an uptempo Softies, that dreamy voice of Rose Melberg it's impossible to get sick of. There's the same sort of indie jangle in the guitar, but with a very deliberate nod to the Velvet Underground, here's the riff, listen for the subtlety, getting down into the slow psyche area of things...then on "Half the Time (stripped down version) they're making me rethink The Sundays place in psyche...it's not an album I would revisit, but in rural upstate NY before the internet, I can't tell if I made way more out of that album then should be acceptable. This track is reminding me of that period of time when I probably listened to that a lot...and again, I haven't heard it in years, I think vocally, the slight delay, the chorus, where the sounds are almost turning into the background instrumentation, I'm not sure anymore of where the lyric started. Add tremolo warbly guitar strums and it adds up to a shoegaze sort of revisit sound, that is most definitely the sound of an Eternal Summer.
Pretty sure these are exclusive to this release and is limited to just 300 on black vinyl with digital download code.... F/NF says:
Funny / Not Funny Records is proud to present "The Mystic Fortress Sessions Vol. 1." This record celebrates the creativity captured at the lair of the Magic Twig Community. For the first edition we bring you the pairing of long time friends Eternal Summers and The Super Vacations. From start to finish this release delivers rolling pop riffs and timeless melodies that in combination create the perfect vibe for any summertime release. This body of work speaks for itself, so make sure to order this limited, must have, release before it's gone.