Friday, July 26, 2013

The Dead Records / Laura K Balke split on Usonian Records

Both bands on this split believe the physical object is as important as the music contained within. From Laura starting this label, Usonian, with Jon Autry to put out her own track on the B-Side as a vinyl single to The Dead Records naming themselves after what was then a disappearing format when they first got together. The care that went into this release is written all over the sleeve, it's a handmade affair of screened cardboard and she even took the time to write 7inches a letter - on paper!

For the A-Side The Dead Records do "Winter Clothes" which has a nice crunch on the guitar in service of their blown out pop, reminding me a little of Promise Ring. They have an emphasis on pop but with those post punk influences. Aaron Taylor has a real emotive vocal with the rest of the band backing him up with 'ooooo's'. Aaron can really stretch himself out reaching for the higher vocal ranges and hitting it easily. One of those guys that have an easy time becoming the lead singer in any band. There's a slight grunge kind of edge to this, but mostly it stays a super shiny pop with an air of sadness. As good as this is sounding, you know there's some kind of heartbreak here and he's seriously selling it, their booming, decisive sound suppots his near breakdown.

The B - or AA Side has Laura K Balke performing "I Can Only Run" which is a solo echo distortion electric in the distanced is matched with nice xylophone and keys. Laura is equally as trained vocally with a country folk style that is driven higher thanks to this big production of layers, sounding like Feist rhythmically with a more southern or midwest twang and quiver in her delivery. Sweeter and higher, she packs in the lyrics to this rock beat and the percussion seems to swap parts of the kit in double time to the beat. It's a delicately piled up number that holds a little back so this can grow and grow, with Laura's plucking lower distortion melodies. When it turns the corner it's a full blown bitter track about persistence.

Pick this up direct from Laura at Usonian Records.

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