Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Wheelers - Bubix on Blood on the Vinyl Records

Greg sent me a single in from his band, The Wheelers with a super nice note about the Iowa music scene and are fans of the great Samuel Locke Ward, The Mumfords and Ed Gray, so I bet they know all about Unread Records, who must have been based out there at some point. They're in some good company...and Greg shares my love of Jay Reatard and that final single from Shattered Records. It's no surprise that this ends up being a great EP of damaged experimental noise pop...well more straight up indie rock with lots of big twists.

A-Side's "Damaged machines" introduces their completely damaged plethora of guitar sounds, this track immediately taking off into soloing with a demented, raw sound. I can appreciate a band taking a chance on this specific, insanely crafted, alien distortion... building the whole song around it, bouncing the tracks of distortion around. Sounding a lot like that first pavement single, reckless, completely out of control in composition but tightly delivered and insanely complex...sort of ingorning everything that's trendy in a really nice way. Going right for that hard hitting pop of Frank Black (not solo). Balancing the letting loose screams and experimental screechy guitar with a quiet bass melody. Keep it off balance and then tip the scale.
"Dan" is bassline based, and their lyrics, where this completely blows up, Greg is out of his mind with layers of completely trashed guitar tones. It's really quiet leading into this layered fuzz built out of a 4-track straight line into the last few tracks. "It's your fault dan!" is an indie anthem, that great polished crunch sound of the blue Weezer album. All rhythm and a love for the harmony, but mostly not taking it too seriously... trying to break rock by having some god damn fun with it, which can be the hardest to pull off because you really have to skate that line of ridiculousness and trusting that people are going to hear it that way. If you get too loose, it might seem like you aren't even trying to care and then why should I? These guys care a lot.

B-Side "Rogues' gives you some classic rock, big, beefy solo chords, layer on the verse then switch the whole song, yelling again, finding another blowing out the red of the amp, the pedals, the microphones. They're exploring the best sounds of a guitar, when it's so damaged it starts to turn into something esle. Plus I love a solo that can't ever be repested like this, they're sort of giving into the randomness of the performance, and if they got it half right once, that's it, perfect take. As much as I'm going on about the distortions it's all under a pop umbrella, they want, after all to create these catchy tunes...but are bored with the usual arrangements. They have to be a little crazy to swing this far for the fences, and 7inches likes crazy.
"They will come" has another great bassline, talky vocals with a little bit of distortion, but you better be ready because they're always waiting to drop the hammer. Just when the quieter section is starting out, sounding a little twee, K-recs, they will bring the complete and insane noise. And not just a usual layer of distortion (duh - ed). This is picked apart zzzips and scraps of scales, ripping the wound strings right up. Greg isn't afraid to yell. So much enthusiasm,and then a locked groove of alien noises? Oh no wait, it's over.

What's not to like? Joyous, unexpected and doing their own thing... another few years of this and they're going to come out on the other side of this like nothing else.

Wow.. big color photo, massive xerox liner notes, they put this together with a lot of thought, another sign they care, this is a sincere indie pop, and you should listen to the example below, and pick up a copy.

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