Monday, September 24, 2012

Memory Motel self released single

Got an email a while back from the guys in Memory Motel, a trio out of Reno, Nevada whose members are just barely out of their teens and are creating a huge, spaced out, modern electronic psych sound well beyond their collective years. An incredibly solid single experimenting with a range of complex sound, from atmospheric shoegaze to electronica rock.

"Wasted days" opens with a backwards shuffling rhythm and gong crash under a warbling phasery moog or farfisa organ, getting right to an eclectic mix of instrumentation, all skillfully woven together and actually sounding like it all makes sense in their weird psych universe. Ben Ashlock is tackling his drums, heavy and complex with one of those crafty high hat patterns, ultra jazzy, as the organ keys get to twinkling behind it. The guitar is bouncing around under a huge hall delay, while CJ Gibson has all kinds of subtle effects on his vocal tracks, there's a kind of fading backmasking sound playing into the breathy, chopped up Thom Yorke style vocal, even getting into that same delicate falsetto. Sixteen year old Ben drops the track into a tom rhythm and the keys turn into a glassy chime as they build this back up. This is a futuristic psych… a Flaming Lips, Radiohead combination of anything goes with genre's along with something that marks the current state of technology, but not completely dated either, Memory Motel is using the classic parts of this stuff in completely new sounding ways which is hard to do.

"Lost Souls" on the B-Side features a minimally plucked warm electric with CJ under a slight reverb, delivering his vocal in one of those cold, hard, massive rooms… he's a great vocalist, belting out a massive range of dynamics, really unaccompanied in this space without any sense of imperfection. He should be out there by himself, working this vague sense of tension that should be blowing up any moment but never rises above this ultra slow almost nonexistent tempo. The handle they have on production is pretty nuts, it's already working in the way a band gets to about halfway around the time they have to reinvent themselves. They became successful doing one thing, but they can't keep playing songs from those first few albums, night after night, so they get advice from producers, and those alientating electronics, guiding them through those layered foreign sounds. Memory Motel is already there. Seriously impressive stuff already…way beyond where any normal barely out of high school band should be. These guys are focused as hell and have to be insanely knowledgeable in production, or someone's dad is a real big shot. This track ends whistling along with this surf, Ennio Morricone, lonesome guitar sound right after a wash of arpeggios in the string section, everything is game for their electronic psych, and that's the kind of classy package you're going to get from these guys.

Self released, from the Memory Motel bandcamp page, splatter vinyl, 500 of these.

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