Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Cairo Gang 'Holy Clover' on Empty Cellar Records

Whoa.... what happened at the Empty Nest Collective? A million more records have been released that's what.
Arvel sent this one in the other day, and looking at the website, they have been insanely busy since the last time I checked in.
This latest single from The Cairo Gang is just the tip of the iceberg, in fact I just noticed they are playing with Will Oldham at Monster Island April 1st, which I'm working on getting tickets for, but it isn't looking good. How they're pulling this show off is impressive for Will and the Island.
But the Oldham connection doesn't end there, looking at the back of the sleeve it turns out Paul Oldham mastered this 4 song EP from these slow lyric heavy rockers, working with a lot of classic tear the insides out minimal instrumentation.
After reading their disclaimer to music journalists I'm at a bit of a loss, and a little worried about comparing this to any kind of sunday afternoon 70's feel without being another misguided douche. I'm not versed enough in those references to really know what I'm talking about, but I imagine it's the sort of thing that could have been played on turntables 30 years ago, informed by soaring honest country, and beaten English rock. All with an overwhelming sadness for sure, 'Lovers Only' kicks it off with acoustic, deliberate slow enough to hear every string as an individual note, with Emmett Kelly close mic'd enough to hear every inhale. He's inside your head, right in that personal space. 'The World Outside' is far away layered heavy echo...I'm hearing that inside-a-silo tone that seems to be an underlying theme with the Cellar. This one builds staying melancholic but climbing out of desperation, things are going's a hand on the rainy windowpane as you pull out of the driveway. Jesus...with angels.

The B-Side's "Get's me back' is driven by this loud slow strum electric and Emmett's higher harmonies this time until the groove starts...they balance this minimal songs:ohia feel with Neil's completely leveling 'Down by the river'. I sometimes ask myself how all of these styles can make any sense to one person, or am I just bombarding myself with no sense of direction. Well, then I remind myself when it's as honest and true to it's direction you can hear it. There's no gauge exactly, but there's not the slightest sense of parody or imitation. If you hear this dedication, it just makes sense. 'Holy Clover' just can't get loud, I'm really turning it up but there's a layer of distance covering the whole sludgy tempo. It's a texture that comes with well worn vinyl grooves, anticipating it's future.

This is the case of the seven inch teasing you with where this band can go given the vinyl room, they've probably got acres of a massive jam in them dying to spread out and take the solo home, trading off between members, everyone gets their moment.

I love that both sides seamlessly combine the tracks together in one long evolving slow ride. It's going to be a hell of a show, these two are going to be perfect together.

Get it from Empty Cellar Records/Endless Nest, who keep releasing compelling classics before anyone else.

"HOLY CLOVER" new EP by THE CAIRO GANG. features four NEW songs recorded in a risen cornfield in shelby county, kentucky. A departure from previous cerebral and primarily acoustic efforts, this record is tight and electric with choruses and vocal harmonies all supported by an enforced bass and drums set. One mic at a time and brought to you in 33 rpms on glorious 7 inch vinyl! Limited copies made available by Empty Cellar and Tin Angel in the USA and Europe, respectively. Includes freed downloadable version.


  1. Jason-
    Hi, nice review of 'Holy Clover'; I've been listening to what is apparently the 'B' side, which a few blogs are offering as a free mp3 download. I've looked at the Empty Cellar site every which way trying to figure out how to buy the downloadable version of both sides of the single- I'm not interested in owning the physical 7" single itself. Do you have any idea how to navigate that website? For the life of me I can't figure it out, it's maddeningly without instruction. Any help you can give me this would be much appreciated! Thanks-

  2. Steve,
    Hey there, I've been looking myself and you might have to actually buy the vinyl to get access to a download...let me check with those guys.