Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Honey Radar on Rountree Records
Got this single in from Jason Henn and his project, Honey Radar, which is a fuzzy-fi psych-pop homemade 6 song EP running at 45, which forces Jason to get in there, and attack that melody right away, there's no time to mess around, or jam out the groove... the best tracks are sometimes the shortest...mostly Honey radar is reaffirming my appreciation for the experimental, bedroom recordings that when done by someone with an amazing natural songwriting ability are really worth listening too.
The first track, "Hands of Fate" let's you know this is going to be a hissy affair, staring through wax paper...I thought it could be the record player, I'm so quick to think it's got to be something in this massive chain of audio equipment, because of course it would be! But no, Jason's just working with that inherent underwater quality where the song is already over because that's all the cassette ran for, completely unexpected, one of those jump cuts where Ariel would just mash it into another song.
"Wedding Album" gets a great, really interesting groove around the layers of a cheap 4-track, the multiple, just out of sync vocal, an up-front heavy tambourine... This is a really perfect combination that keeps things intimate and demo-y but is still a completely finished song. Interesting unpredictable changes adding up in a perfectly catchy way. It's always the best when someone gets in there and plays live drums, especially when the rest of the track stops and they have to take it out with one more measure. It's really bringing back those massive 7 track sentridoh EP's, with weirdo sound experiments, which always made me want to go record, with a genius perfect gem of a loose, heartbreaking sketch. Sometimes a little loose jam like this can transcend any sort of need to clean up, it exists, perfect, just like this. That's where the 4-track still can work...it leaves an honest sentiment in a genre/sound that some people are still uncomfortable listening to. It's unpolished, there's something wrong from the get go...it can't ever be a hit. Like Pumice...you almost don't even want to see it recreated live, this is as good....well as perfect as it's going to get.
"The Navy Milk" is a short reverse track, weird synth noises, to the point where it almost has you convinced that this kind of reverse melody could almost work. The fact this is even included is why I loved those handlabeled cassettes from Mr. Barlow, you're so close to the process, you can see the individual ingredients.
B-Side's "Perfume, backflip, baby doll", is leaving me completely nostalgic...and who is this guy? The black label, no context, inserts for this is making this even more mysterious. It's what I wanted GBV to be (somehow Robert's songwriting seemed to bro-y for me). Not everyone has this balance of sincere effortless melodic songwriting, put together with hardly an electric guitar. The vocals have great imperfections, too close to the mic, the clunk of putting down a guitar. A layered, quiet vocal that doesn't need to be so specific. Like that Dump album.., purely sad chords, all singing in an almost monotone, working hard at barely letting you in, while laying it all out on the table and walking away.
"Climbs like a loaded gun" then uses a steady rhythm from weird instruments, some kind of cardboard box, but you'd never know it. There's a tiny amount of distortion over everything, like a pop Neutral Milk Hotel...and I know it's terrible to even invoke any comparison to Jeff ever, but that energy of something being so raw and mysterious is still exciting. It's a mystery and I want it to stay that way. The tracks on this get better and better, it's the sheer amount of different sounding material that's all great feels like you've spent a lot of time with this.
I want to keep listening to this, not even to figure it out and dissect what's working about this. I love it. It's working like all those John Davis, Lou Barlow messes of singles, and now that time has passed I realize how much I still miss those pop experiments.
This one is available direct from Jason on his bandcamp page, a couple of different lathe versions....and only 100 copies of this one, with the tiniest possible messages scrawled into the miniature gutter...
By the way, Jason says he tried to deal with polycut for a year now trying to get his lathe records and had a terrible experience....Single Piece Slate has been AWOL after a brief run as well...
There's such a demand out there...who's going to step up with the small run lathe cuts!