Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whiting Tennis on Fin Records

Fin records out of Seattle is a pretty good place to end up as an emerging artist, not that you can send them a demo...( never know, try it) because they are simply in the business of putting out artists they like. There's no master plan for tracking down the most hyped with an assurance the pressing is going to sell out. They curate based solely on their own taste and then giving that group complete creative control over the's a dream situation, and their latest is from Whiting Tennis, who apparently is an established sculptor as well as a musician. Two tracks on this crystal clear vinyl at 45, an embossed Fin inner sleeve with printed lyrics and hand numbered. It's seems they're always coming up with a little something new in putting together a complete package you know exactly where it's coming from.
The A-Side "Every Night I'm Killing" is a tortured, slow alt-country style extended track, in a more upbeat Mark Lannegan style, drawn out vocalization, without even understanding the content, it's a lumbering somber piece. The janky player piano sound bouncing around in an abandoned back room, the scratch of the strings in an acoustic chord change, the heavy psyche-echo vocals. What starts out as a sentimental, hymn about loss and regret ends each verse section with '...once/if I get my hands on you I'll...' and I'm starting to feel this dark number might be headed in a sinister direction...I know he'd be happy to have her back in a way....but when put like that it feels more like tempting the heroine back so he can be the one to let her go this time and he doesn't even want to say it out loud. A big western electric solo rides off into the sunset next to cello, and it fades out in the distance.
The B-Side, "July", feels like it must be at the wrong speed, they're playing through syrup on this one. It's a massive effort to work in the trademark Velvets haze...or in recreating that feel which is definitely coming through here. A slow chord slide guitar, the half time beats under a thin, cheap mic vocal, (which is actually almost too close to Lou's, but it passes) barely keeping up with itself...this track's lyric is attributed to a Nate Johnson poem which is insanely dense and abstractly refers to drunken love and NYC...perfect subject matter for Whiting in tune with this super loner ethos, which comes across on both sides of this double scotch, no rocks....wait, no...straight from the bottle, in the liquor store parking lot. It's finished by the time you get home.

500 copies on Fin Records.

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