Quemada Records has been keeping me in the loop with their entire catalog and I'm just getting to the first one on the stack now. Looks like they distro a lot of hard to find import stuff, including that Lust for Youth / War split on Avant! Records. This single from Mole House is a three piece from Melbourne, Australia putting that intimate, home recorded sound to use on these two sides. The kind of raw recordings that aren't often attempted as much anymore, the immediacy of the technology has worn off, anything is better quality than the 4-track, and instead you get people like Ariel, This Heart Electric or Honeydrum using it atmospherically in a new way. But ultimately it's for the best, because it was so easy to replicate that hissy boombox mic style, anyone could do it... except for the good writing. Mole house sound like this isn't so much of an aesthetic choice as it is just capturing one of those moments that just wouldn't happen when the engineer is behind the glass pushing buttons.
A-Sides "Hey Come My Way" even has that lonesome cassette sound, vocals from Carla have a sad strain that just sounds more and more heartbreaking the thinner it's captured. Here it's hitting the peaks of the limitations of the equipment and in imagining the rest of that waveform you know it was pushing the limits of the room and hitting the mic, well you end up with an approximation of the emotion, and by not spelling it out or getting every tortured breath, it's that much more mysterious. By not including everything in perfect focus, the parts you fill in are of course better than the real thing because their personal to you. That's where lo-fi or even shoegaze can shine. By being this kind of expressionism in sound form, it requires more participation from the listener to actively decode the layers. Drone jangle-steady beat guitar and drums that just provide this ledge for her to jump straight off.
"Taylor's Mistake" takes the distant sound of a rolling snare, mic'd from above, all in the same room.... why does this kind of thing just kill me when done right like this? Is it because I can just too easily imagine being in that room and realizing the magic that's happening? We're making music with friends who have no concept of pressing a record, touring, mic placement, purely for themselves. That hint of an accent is making this that much more endearing. They find a repetition, a completelty spontaneous repetition with mistakes and missed changes, capturing this lonely night. This section of the record shelves can get bigger and bigger, you can't ever bear to part with this kind of naked sincerity, it can't be covered by another band, it won't be the same when these guys get big and rerecord it...or play it live. This is it's only version now and forever.
Completely plain inner sleeve, like any artwork would just ruin it somehow.
"Coming back and coming over" is a single slight effect electric. Sounds to be mic'd in that backcountry way, Carla comes in again in her own bizarre melodic scales, exactly like Gilmore Tamny from the Yips, almost out of tune, but the sheer willpower and jamming a lyric like 'television' in by saying it as fast as possible...that's true Yips style that was so inpsiring to depressed indie rockers who felt like they never sounded good on guitar or singing. "It doesn't matter at all." (those are her lyrics) If I was going to Australia and wondering what it was actually like to live there, this exotic place as far away from home as possible, I would feel completely comfortable looking towards these guys to point me in the right direction. This 4-track VU, Mountain Goats band called Mole house. The cassette even drops out for a second...but this is the only existing copy of the maxell tape... there's no mastering this...that's it. Just appreciate this half sad half hopeful moment of imperfection.
QUE 003: Mole House-“Hey Come My Way” 7”
Can't be more excited to bring you debut from Mole House. Get to know em now. The band is made up of Carla dal Forno backed by a couple peeps from Mad Nanna and White Woods (Night People, Bellplay) and sounds like an even mixing of those two bands. A bit more jangle and hook than your typical date with Mad Nanna, but a bit sloppier than a make-out session with White Woods. Prime bummer pop through and through.
Check out the A-Side right here, and get it from Quemada Records: