Monday, August 26, 2013
The Dad on Unread Records
Unread Records may have moved their headquarters recently to Pittsburgh, PA but thankfully their aesthetic hasn't changed a bit since Christopher first contacted me back in 2006. Their packaging always reminded me of early Shrimper or Homestead Records handmade quality that’s still inspiring to me today. You could see in the Xerox sleeve and catalog inserts or the hand written center labels that putting out your own singles was a really personal act. Unread sent in this single from The Dad, out of Omaha, Nebraska and it also recalls those home recorded late ‘90s sounds from those labels as well with a combination of off the rails garage and ramshackle punk in three tracks that held it together long enough for two sides of basement pop.
A-Side’s “7 A.M.” opens with a scuzzy bass setting the tempo of punk speed and before you know it they've built up a rickety, layered racket in the best kind of Yips way, different than just garage because they’re make sure things have that deliberate out of tune edge. It's home recorded and personally hand crafted while ignoring the typical sad bastard sound. No one’s feeling sorry for themselves in the cement block, bare bulb basement. It’s as if Mad Nanna were going more of a pop sound, less experimental or psych. There’s no time for self reflection here, they just can’t hold anything back, the layers piled on in dense melodies. They have an informal edge with off tempo manic punk vocals that keep this from ever getting too tight or together. I got to hand it to these guys, its exactly the kind of thing that straddles the line of garage without being laid back and post-punk frantic, jagged timings, pushing things right up to that edge. "Second Best Friends" blasts spastic organ and echo yelling reverb in this jangly jam. This sloppy, taped together sound and psych organ has something to do with the Johnny Ill Band if they were handled by Mike Rep. This second track is reinforcing their unusual rhythms in both of these tracks, a jagged spazzy pop sound that you couldn’t get any other way. It’s the same reason I love Times New Viking and Home Blitz, the way the recording captures their crazy ecstasy of playing.
B-Side’s "Getting Worse" has a sharp electric melody kick this off in a slower tempo. Rehearsal space gold of inspired delivery that wouldn’t reach these heights if you were taking things too seriously, they have their shit together, what could sound like apathy is spontaneity. Their riffs are jagged and tight exploding in muddy, treble spiked pop, the chorus on this particularly delivers like G. Green’s damaged pop.
Get it from Unread Records. I can't say enough about the really unique things Christopher has brought to my attention over the years. His catalog continues to expand with gems like this getting more essential.