Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Red Pens on 25 Diamonds Records
Robert from Moniker records told me about this single from Red Pens, which I ordered right away... turns out this Minneapolis based label, 25 Diamonds sent me a bunch of their other releases just because they were nice...and making up for mailing it a couple days late (that's not even close to late in my book), so when I saw the pack of records, I assumed they were meant for the review and so now they ARE.
Little did I know that Howard on vocals is from the solo project, Busy Signals, not these Busy Signals, (that's a great record also). But his latest project, Red Pens... is a duo arrangement, the best kind with Laura Bennett on drums, and this sounds to be some kind of power psych garage pop. Massively blown out scuzzy layered guitar and snarl.
A-Side, "Next summer" has a massive echo on the vocal, it's loud as hell over this power dirt mix of guitar, all kinds of chorus-y distortion and phase, bleeding through into the drums, turning into this impenetrable mass. A snotty vocal and power chords, sounding slightly Cramps style Howards vocal goes from a deadly whisper to snotty yell, all under this kind of hazy psych garage sound, exploding at the end of each verse with chorus distortion. Sometimes muting the fretboard, it's an overwhelming alien sound, hardly resembling the original tones. Cymbals have reverb.
"I Run This", on the B-Side, then shows the calmer side of Red Pens with a somewhat quieter electric but that warbling massive echo is still muddling the mix which this time is a slower ballad style sustained vocal. The drums are buried again under all treble and blown out guitar. But when you start out that clear and quiet, it's that contrast they're after. Picking up on that energy, it doesn't tale much to turn this into impenetrable layers of crisp hiss. Sort of a ninties indie sound, with some Make Up type of abandon, big vocals, that rae so effected it almost turns into a sort of alternate persona who's delivering this ramped up energy.
Go check out the Red Pens A-Side track over at 25d's soundcloud page.
This one is on a sort of grey/purple vinyl, simple crayon written center label from 25 diamonds Records.