Monday, February 22, 2010

The Late Virginia Summers on Harding Street Assembly Lab Records

Every time I even think this band name in my head 'The Late Virginia Summers' I can't help but think it's memorializing some deceased celebrity (seems I'm not the only one), and then realize it has to be just the right description for their somber, instrumental style. I almost wouldn't put this in a post-rock place as much as I would something more delicately rocking akin to Jack Rose or James Blackshaw. It has a sort of meandering folk direction at first, but it's all building towards an epic climax that sounds like Explosions unplugged. The high trembling melodies, with a quick start and stop. They're pushing the math equations of the classical composition just slightly with a nod to all things Chicago circa late 90's. It's avant garde without needing a decryption.

This single came in from the brand spanking new Harding Street Assembly Lab of which husband and wife team Nathan and Joanna are curating the new sound of central Virginia. Nathan is one half of TLVS with Joe Morgan, and Joanna, who is a showing artist in the VA area is behind the sleeve art of this single. Cue Sly & the Family Stone: It's a handmade affair, the kind of thing that makes 7"'s so great. They're assembling them on the kitchen table, hanging with clothespins across the livingroom, moving piles around to find a place to sit down and have coffee. It's commitment, not to mention at $5 postage included, it's not a part of their retirement plan. They love music, period.

The xerox insert says these two sides were recorded almost exactly in opposite seasons, this one on the A-Side, 'Pebble Azalea Starfish' was committed January 1st, and both sides could be a commissioned study in seasonal disorder. Pebble is looking towards the coming spring, dramatically building layers of guitar, acoustic and electric while the percussion works it's way in there to abruptly come to a screeching halt. I'm going to think that's not the end but the beginning.

The B-Side, 'Golden Cypress', has a bass melody, that could possibly be electronic. There's a lot of delayed electric atmospherics amidst a decidedly more subtle experimental feel here. Low end hum builds. This being recorded in the summer, it's that blinding oppressive can barely move. Sweat everywhere, set up the loop and carefully reverse it. I bet now you're wishing it was winter again, but that's the curse of the seasons, just when you think you can't wait for summer, you're dying for snow again. When are we going to just sit back and appreciate the season we're in?

A full length should be out sometime later this year, and I hope it makes it to a long playing LP, and I will put it right in between Pullman and Ativin on the shelf.

HSAL 02: TLVS, “Pebble Azalea Starfish” b/w “Golden Cypress” $5 PPD
This single marks the first recordings of The Late Virginia Summers (TLVS) in their current two piece incarnation. “Pebble” features a trademark Joe Morgan rift pushing through cascading layers of electric guitars & phased out organs. The flow of “Golden Cypress” resembles a hazy west coast sunset, with a low end groove dissolving into an ocean of guitar washes. Both sides were tracked & mixed at the Harding Street Assembly Lab by the band.

Get it direct from Harding Street Assembly Lab by emailing the Laboratory at hardingstreet(at)

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