Friday, October 19, 2012

The Zookeepers / Signals 12" split - True to these times...and those times too - Cellar Hits Records

Pat from Cape Cod's, Cellar Hits Records just put out this split 12" between his band, a four piece called The Zookeepers and The Signals, comprised of members of the Mae Shi (check the Venn diagram). Entitled "True to these times ....and those times too" it brings together two coasts with similar insanely elaborate sounds on this huge purple marble slab.

The Zookeepers set the tone with "Welcome Nancy" a rawkus start, in fits and starts of feedbacking, squealing guitar and smashing cymbals, all in a real tempered, specific direction, this isn't some free form jazz experiment, it's swapping that manic breakdown at the end of a track to the very beginning, chopping it up and feeding you the little pieces. There's different tempo's, loose deep crunchy effects, all at this hardcore punk pace.
On "Foil" they get a little looser and minimal, with a goofy vocal but quickly gets massive and experimental with a lot of Deerhoof kind of elements. Loose and raw with those same kind of unbeliveable dirty riffs that sound so good, heavy guitar work, beefy riffs and crisp distortion getting a little metal in this middle section, but you really can't pin this down, like Les Savy Fav. The chorus where everyone joins in on vocals with the carefree, joyous ramshackle ensemble sound of complex energy and orchestration of all these weird elements, horn blasts...just letting you in on this party.
"GGG" has a jangly indie start and warped guitar line, free and loose again, with a Musket and Westing feel without the layers of hiss, then flipping into power riffs and Lync-style choruses yelling. Carnival chords in delicate complex melodic patterns...a drum machine leads the next verse and this is bringing The Unicorns or The Firey Furnaces back from the dead.
This thing keeps changing up in an indie rock operatic way and blasting a new bigger, stronger riff than last time. Their seriousness in the instrumentation... the attention to those details mixed with a freeform rock approach at points gets all the way into pure experimentation, but within their own kind of internal pop structure.
"Radicle majesty" is their ten minute epic of soaring guitar solo's and huge room drums, a totally new sound from the rest of the record. Squealing synths, distorted vocals yelling like a maniac, belting this one out like the jams from Sebadoh that are half catharsis, half melody. "You're never gonna make it kid, until you take the time to snort a line off of this strippers tits" You knew this was eventually going to happen, the mental breakdown and anguish... but you never imagined it like this. A slow breakbeat jam and delayed effects off to the end of this side. You get the feeling that this album was created... destined to change live on a whim, they're inherently going to change as soon as they're observed like those tiny particles, the minute it starts up no matter where they wanted this to go, it's off on it's own again.

Signals all the way over on the opposite coast take this spastic dense sound to a completely new extreme on the "...and those times too" side
with the track, "Spector" blowing in twinkly synth lines, crisp gated guitar and half shreiking vocals with serious range that can layer up lyrics that should be impossible to reconcile like "dumpster fires!" Sounding like a ensemble harlem choir version of Matt and Kim, an out of control energy, times 11. "Shades" takes this even further into The Faint, a band I've completely forgotten about with their high layered chorus vocal and booming drum line. An always bizarrely energetic vocal and singalong chorus. Slick guitar bursts and machine-like drums coming together for this electronic punk. It's an impressive vocal, I really have no idea how it's constructed...little pieces of synth bleeping in under the umbrella of angst and modern protest sound of the Desaparaceidos.
"We knew" gets further down the Faint tunnel, getting dark in it's heavy synth sound and the deep vocal chanting tis verse riding into a new wave bloopy sound. I love how this vocal is matching the digital production. This future pop sounds totally alien, a slick future alien party scene. "Mommy Issues" gets crazy complex and these vocals are borderline devilish, in it's weird harmony and dark chords, making sure they keep it unsettling, talking about, "I think your mom is getting stronger?" Yikes.
An impressive blast of compresion at any volume, I swear this side is getting louder on it's own... "Monster party II" has a back and forth vocal through a tin can, layered as anything with masssive low synth waves breaking into the serious guitar. This crazy wall of a vocal from beginning to end, out of control, is forcing some kind of break in your will. Demanding every ounce of attention beginning to end.

A sparkly assault on lavener swirl vinyl with a hand glued sleeve and xerox insert, pokemon cards, ripped out pages of an old children's book, xeroxed dollar bills and the best part a page from snooki's literary masterpiece. Pop things that don't belong together, but somehow evoke some kind of random stunted adulthood you find yourself in...From Cellar hits records.

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