Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Clearance on Microluxe Records
I literally listened to this and racked my brain for the other band that was so close to the ghost of Pavement past that they had me relistening to that box of singles I have under the bed and guess what? It was these guys on their last single. I swear this time their name, CLEARANCE is getting burned into my mind like an old monitor. Also what's with these guys pressing this on their own Microluxe label? The million and a half labels out there aren't interested in the sound from ONE OF THE GREATEST BANDS OF ALL TIME?
These guys actually sent me one of the sparkly clear green ones from this pressing and A-Side's "Close Encounters" is quintessential american jangle guitar, no attempt to warm it up or round off those sharp edges. It's loose riffage is clashing with everything. Mike on vocals is capturing that Malkmus delivery; a talking, shouty deadpan that jumps to an emotional chorus. Even the sleeve is a subtle homage a white out drawing over a thrift store snapshot. It's all jumbled together without a solid melody to hold on to, they happily jaunter around in a field with harmonies over the hillside. You get the sense that also like Pavement they name their tracks long after they've been sung.
"She's A Peach" then comes out with a heavier strong riff, even more jangle but heavier. Mike can take this melody anyhwere and has really absorbed all of those icons qualities. The drums have static smack, the treble twang shines through that vocal and the guitars crank up with Dinosaur Jr. amounts of hiss and cracks. Maybe I'm missing Pavement so much this is unfucking canny? That could be a bad thing for some people but these guys have proven now they're serious. It's going to take time to win over the dismissers but honestly no one I've ever heard has even remotely captured their sound like this.
Not to mention this was all done at 33 1/3 so I though I was in for a long EP's with some experimenting but these are all solid catchy tracks. B-Side's "Drive Out!" builds up layers of electrics with a simple distortion - and thats's all it really takes, they feel out their classic rock side getting a groove going. Two choice lines; "A patriot of a disco tech" and "Take my last token / When the single serve gets broken" The intonation... the phrasing, the stream of consciousness that makes sense. I also think it's weird that I found Demolition Plot J-7 the other day in a random store I don't get to enough. Never thought I'd see that day either.
On "Modern Luxe" they grab all the stuff from those records, the ease and effortlessness of Slanted and the bigger complex tracks of Terror Twilight. The hardest sort of sound I can imagine attempting to attempt in this style. It's one thing to blow out the lo-fi experiments and bury the hiss with a sweet chorus but these guys are perfectly crafting really interesting tracks,"Face the frontier" has loose, slappy drums, their bumpy rhythms smoothing the whole thing out and then throwing a wrench right through the center of this stained glass window they've been building. They nailed this laid back feel leaving you feeling they modestly threw these songs together one afternoon and then someone they knew had to convince them to press this up. If I don't ever see this in person I will always be secretly convinced Steve started a side project called Clearance and doesn't want anyone to freak out. I love Pavement even more than I did a decade ago and this reminds me of all the things about them that were so great. No one should have ever been able to capture even a tiny piece of it but you write about singles long enough and I guess you hear everything.
Get this from the band direct. Highest recommendation.