I'm torn about record store day this Saturday. On one hand I'm happy for smaller neighborhood record stores to get attention and customers in celebrating vinyl with limited releases from all kinds of labels. On the other hand for the regulars that come in every other day normally…it’s their worst nightmare. The lines will be around the block and once maximum capacity is allowed in at 9:01AM, they’ll grab everything, pushing and shoving, to flip it on ebay. It’s great for the store, they’ll probably do better than Christmas, but it seems like loyal customers are shut out in favor of speculators who could give a shit about the music. It’s a business after all, but it’s starting to feel like supermarket sweep, not a meeting of like-minded people who care about vinyl, they won’t have a chance of getting anything.
That could just be my experience in Brooklyn, the concentration of record nerds has reached a super saturation point and record store day is the tipping point. I want to think that in some smaller town you could walk in this Saturday and there might be a few more people than usual but this split lathe cut single from Cherub Records would be sitting on the shelf, waiting for you.
Photographer, PJ Sykes started Cherub Records back in 2001 with a focus on releasing records from friends in Virginia and in this case, his own Hoax Hunters project. Limited to 40 hand cut copies, the only way you’re going to be lucky enough to hear this is through the bandcamp link below (in a few days).
The Snowy Owls track “Kerfuffle” has a solid indie pop dense sound with big, lush vocals. It’s a Spacemen 3 style shoegaze with metallic plinky chords, lining up huge amounts of shakers, layers of distortion and near ghostly vocal. Perfectly in line with a late ‘90s shoegaze, the Lilys inspired early sound from A Brief History…Strong melodic lines that are solidly catchy pop while being thick in the fuzzy sonic department. With booming kick and tom, this type of music is inherently interested in an unbelievable amount of careful recording; it’s got to be difficult to not give in entirely to the process. It’s just as important to control this kind of chaos, that’s the exciting and the hard part. Don't even get these guys started about playing live, it’s a special nightmare to find the right level of punch for these layers to play nice. The grungy fuzz pauses and the melody plows in thick with toms and cathedral reverb tambourine hits. Their concocting a massive sound they keep pouring on over and over.
The Hoax Hunters side is after a big sound from a faster, harder place. PJ is fronting this one in an off the mic, almost hardcore inspired vocal that’s slightly distorted reminding me of Screaming Trees with that essential pop aesthetic but powering through huge chords and
gunning for the finish. This stays pop until the heavy echo breaks out on the lyric "Friction!" with the guitars dabbling in doom chords. They leap into this heavy, full throttle track, digging deep back to Space Needle, Varnaline or the tough Sebadoh track’s of Harmacy.
Lathe Cut Record Available Exclusively at Steady Sounds
Cherub Records is proud to announce Richmond’s Hoax Hunters and The Snowy Owls will team up for a split seven inch release in honor of Record Store Day on April 20, 2013. This limited edition release of 40 copies will be available in a “bronze smoke” square lathe cut record exclusively at Steady Sounds in Richmond. At least 10 copies will be distributed to other regional independent record stores starting Monday April 22nd and a standard digital only version of the single will be released on Tuesday April 23rd.
Hoax Hunters’ side features the tracks "Orbit [Don't Tell, Today] and "Color Coded" and The Snowy Owls contribute "Kerfuffle". Both bands will play at Steady Sounds on April 20, 2013 as part of the WRIR Record Store Day Crawl. Details on performances are available via WRIR’s website.
Hoax Hunters are fronted by PJ Sykes, best known for his music photography as seen in SPIN, Paste and on Merge Records releases. Bassist Tim Falen is the recording lead at WRIR and drummer in The Diamond Center. Drummer James O'Neill was formerly a member of seminal post-hardcore band Permanent.
Designer Matt Klimas, whose work includes posters for Superchunk, Protect All Families concert and Treasure Island Festival and is a member of The Low Branches, fronts The Snowy Owls. Bassist Allen Bergendahl is the recording engineer behind many Richmond bands as well as the Live At Ipanema series. Guitarist James Wingo also plays in Ghost Lotion and formerly was in Lubec with drummer Brandon Martin.
Both sides of this split were recorded by Allen Bergendahl with Tim Falen contributing mixing for a portion of the record.
Get the digital tracks from Cherub Records or if your really lucky, you can pick this up in a select few shops across the land in a few days.