Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Born to Kill EP on One Percent/Headless Actor Records
One Percent Press happened to send this long playing EP, Born to kill from four Buffalo based bands, along with The Armor single and I ended up giving it a spin last night.
The first track up is "Hard to sea" from Tony Flaminio which consists of piano chords and a booming kick drum just under his vocals ringing out in a mostly empty room... going right for the heartbreak. The jangle mess of a guitar picks up and Tony has been belting this one out from the first note...straining neck veins, but in that traditional pop-folk songwriter way. A crazy distorted messy slide guitar comes in towards the end on top of the increasingly buried thin telephone speaker vocal, still sounding pretty damn good, but he's a natural at vocals, pretty much impossible to hide this talent.
Fences Make Good Neighbors do "Loosen the Grip" and I notice Tony is over here as a part of this band as well, and they're really going for the heavy harmony vocals straight and hard over a far off acoustic and this warm organ, which fades off eventually to make room for this bassline. Sort of coming off like middle era DCFC, that slick, sharp edge pop with clever changes, a subtle barely struck tom, keeping it just a little bit unconventional. Handclaps, with a little folk underpinning, homespun, built on a 4-track but there's too much ability to just leave it at that. They have to go 10 steps further. Like unromantic Decembrists.
On the B-side Tracy Morrow does "Cold comfort"... there's something about a badly mic'd acoustic guitar, and by badly I mean there's a real room here, real people, all playing together, done in a spur of the moment way. You can immediately hear the naturalism, there's no gates or compressors, any manipulation after the fact. It's a just plain sad, molasses trudge of a rhythm, with a quivering Jason Molina seen it all/dirt voice. The violin...it's all there in the same room, putting one track together. Wouldn't be surprised if they broke down right after this. Just god damn sad track about lost love, taking it's time, lonelier than if it was recorded any other way. Leaves you wondering how a man gets to this place...and is that where you want to go everyday as a musician? Appreciate it, they got there after a lot of shit, all you have to do is put the needle on the record.
Ellen West then finished this Ep out with "Loss of Momentum" in a big clear electric fingerpicked guitar, real complex repetition, layers of high, tiny, little girl vocals, seems tentative or it's going to stay hushed until finally breaking out into huge strumming and the momentum picks up, playing with the back and forth see saw in the song, bring it up... slow it down again with these two very separate parts. All layered and ghostly, keeping it away from any kind of coffee house set. The liner notes say "performed by Michele Buono…" interesting.
Big uneven strums of someone looking for pure emotion, she got to this terrible loathing place and this side is going to leave you with not much else at the end but the scraping of the needle around the center label and and empty glass. Try not to overdo it. Oh, I'm writing my autobiography again.
Red textured paper insert with tons of notes, pick this one up from One Percent Press or the fine fellows at Headless Actor Records.
Great cover art from Eleanor Davis who's site I'm just checking out...leave it to One Percent to combine a single with a great illustrator/cartoonist I should be checking out on Fantagraphics. That's all the endorsement I need.