Thursday, January 24, 2013

HEHFU on Bleeding Gold Records

I just had to take a picture of this almost before I even pulled it out of the gatefold 7" sleeve, Bleeding Gold is the perfect name for this label pulling out all the stops on this packaging. Starting with this tri color vinyl, where one of the slices is clear! 3rd man/united hasn't cornered that market after all, but that wasn't enough they printed the sleeve in a huge metallic letterset font and a freaking CD jammed into tabs on the left side!!!??
The whole thing says "Who loves 7" vinyl more than us?" Apparently it's HEHFU which started out as a bedroom solo project from UK based, Bradley Clarke. The Drums played his tracks in a DJ set and fast forward three full lengths later. It's a dense, indie pop, catchy and hazy, reminding me of Cloud Nothings or Big Troubles, which would be enough, but to lay it out like this really gets your attention.

A-Side's "Street Orange Glow" is all sorts of late '90s indie sound with an understated guitar that doles out the jangled repetitive chords. Bradley's vocals are the thing that takes this right back to adolescents or early college territory for me and I mean that in the best way. Not jaded, lots of silly possibilities. Not taking itself seriously indie where you're ok with putting yourself out there, not in an oversharing facebook way...maybe it's the delivery that's key. It's not even twee as much as it has a certain kind of vulnerability that is essential but impossible. It's got a shoegaze/drone leaning with warm distortions, and the soft glow from dying fires, but still suburban. Full of that sadness of streetlights and aimless roaming. Of course this is an abstract song about complicated, unrequited love, snapshots of a relationship. The guitar is plodding along, getting English but avoiding the over the top childishness (?) from Belle and Sebastian that can make me crazy. This record is like going down to Adult Crash on Ave A and buying any Zero Hour, Homestead or Slumberland single because they would be packed full of sounds like this that you could:
A. Read into, and
B. Get upset about in an angry self destructive way
"I wished you up / with a pack of cigarettes" that about sums it up, hardly even singing a melody at all, it's slow motion in a sunlit dead end cul de sac. Lens Flaring, windbbreakers and Bedhead...I'm tempted to look up a video, but then I really want to keep that picture just the way it is.

The B-Side starts with "Learning Dutch" in bigger harmonies and more direct vocals, this is positively upbeat. The rhythm going overboard in a '50s bubblegum pop way complete with a synth accompaniment and a bashing power drum. Some kind of machine cymbals and an uzi snare of only fills which can't possibly be a human? This is a hyper sped up shoegaze that all but abandons the genre, the layers crashing together and the vocal melody is off at the prom.... stars in his eyes about forever and true love. "Winter Sun and Summer Snow" kicks off with a scratchy distorted electric breaking out into a high pitch, strained feedbacky squeal with a real emotive vocal over this nearly electronic sound. Earnest, fawning over every word, and you'll be listening... the big crazy machine cymbals are back in some sort of effort to make sure you didn't think this was too real. All layers hit full speed ahead and they're back on that A-Side... that crazy tri-color vinyl is going to ensure this is a keeper for anyone, the cd is just a bonus... I'll have to go find a player somewhere...

Get this insane package from Bleeding Gold Records turns out there's a denim sleeve version as well??!!! Wow.

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