Friday, December 13, 2013
Harpoon Forever on Bleeding Gold Records
Just when you think the golden age of indie rock has disappeared in the rear view mirror of youth it appears far off on the horizon with a glimmer of sincerity just like you remember instilled with the same wide eyed spirit of creating unassuming pop songs that was EXACTLY like your life. A friend was in town the other day who played in a couple of bands in college (one is the opening track on the podcast) and they were after the same indie rock jangle that this Life-Size Cut-Out EP from Harpoon Forever is nailing.
There's a kind of Pavement, inside joke style to A-Side's "Blue Jay" that these guys let you in on. Like Grandaddy, it's an innocent indie rock sound, slightly muffled and smooth with warm and sunny chord changes. In the style of Dump, Space Needle or The Strapping Fieldhands any of those late '90s bands that held the guitar high above everything else and wrote jangly unassuming rock day in and day out. It's not loud, they're not tying to hit you over the head, this is just quiet lapping against the side of the dock, the very best sound sometimes. A little detached but only because you have to get to know it on one of those cool summer nights where all the stars out and you got a six pack and found a lawn chair.
On "Cruel Story of Youth" I'm hearing the Silver Jews with some '90s rock lessons letting the big chord rock fly. It's still got that jangle but with a deeper grungy sound with equally rewarding lyrics. The texture is great across this whole record with slight levels of distortion and the muddiness from bouncing tracks all over the place, the layering of piles of fuzzy crunch over each other without coming off like an experimental bedroom four track session. This one gets into their sense of humor channeling the guitar between the left and right speakers blowing out cones but it's never harsh. Buzzing and muffled, laid back and the drums are just allowed to fall behind for a second. Effortless sounding indie. The very definition of the stuff but what IS the cruel story of youth? Not realizing how good this stuff was in the first place.
B-Side's "Divine" has TWO layers of the subtle pokey electric, expertly layered, and from Rutherford, NJ? Between this and Real Estate NJ is the height of east coast laid back but still a scrappier,
younger, looser version of the Real Estate Boys as far as I can tell. "You + Me" has lots of reverb on this vocal and a tiny toy xylophone in the far distance. The energy and joy of The Swirlies, not so wacky, just that bit of innocence for lack of a better word. Heavy warm slide guitar with elements of a real country groove in the vein of Luna, those wooden acoustics are all lining up on the underbelly of this.
Get this from Bleeding Gold Records. Check this label out, so far they've released a huge variety of super interesting stuff, none of which I've heard about anywhere else. They're doing important work.