Friday, April 19, 2013

#EDAS Album Review: White Fence, Cyclops Reap

by Justin (@justasstrazdin)

Label: Castle Face - April 9, 2013
Artist-Fair Shopping: Vinyl/ DL Code

Style: New Traditional Garage Psych or Something, 4-Track Punishment, Neat-o Fuzz Licks

Audience: Easily Tricked White-Bearded Psych Collectors, Smelly Dudes Who Get Chicks, Roll One on the Album Jacket Types, Apparently These Chicks

Cyclops Reap opens with the calculated nugget "Chairs in the Dark," greeting you with fuzz squeal and organ stabs, then phaser-laden clean picking -- Okay, there's nothing new here, déjà vu, man, if it wasn't such damn cool noise-making. People are listening to Tim Presley. That guy, like, made an album with Ty Segall, and tours a lot, and can't stop making albums that in brief moments remind me why I love The Kinks so much. I only mention them because White Fence's sleepy psych country numbers echo some of The Kinks' tamer moments, but in a respectable, imposter-like way, like on Is GrowingFaith's "StrangerThings Have Happened (To You)," but never as much like when The Turtles did "Dance This Dance" on Turtle Soup.

The fuzz greeting and hard panning antics on "Pink Gorilla" establish the grandchildren of Nuggets cool that Presley is so good at dialing in, but that's a minor problem, unless you pine for that stuff after 45 years of incrementally stronger weed and vinyl coming back. The feeling that a previous album may largely be the same to less discerning ears, but captured the moment better, even if that moment is a close copy of another era, shit, you can probably say whatever you want about it at that point. While Is Growing Faith may be that "moment record," perhaps Cyclops Reap needs time and spins to sink in. It's fractured, louder, and pushes 4-Track bedroom production to it's limited limits. FamilyPerfume, Vol. 2 was too scattered and this release reigns most of its problems in. But you wonder what else is out there in Tim Presley's unfinished and future work.

Verdict: Neither Rewrites Book Nor Rocks Boat, but Lock Your Smoked-Out Friends in a Room with It and See What Happens

White Fence - Chairs In The Dark

Monday, April 15, 2013

#EDAS Album Review: Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze

by Justin (@justasstrazdin)

Label: Matador - April 9 2013
Artist-Fair Shopping: MP3 or Vinyl/ DL Code

Style: Textbook Long-Form Rock, Space on Earth, 70's Rock Renovation, Summer Drug Days

Audience: Windows-Down Trucker Tanning Types, Flannel and Cold Pizza Types, Guys with Crappy Long Hair, Maybe Lester Bangs' Ghost

It's an amazing mix of murk, haze, clarity, and time-stretching. A 9 minute, 31 second single may confuse the industry, but "Wakin on a Pretty Day" on Wakin on a Pretty Daze manages to be the vessel of a Vile that manages to merge the welcome meanderings of his earlier work with the acoustic immediacy of Smoke Ring for my Halo. The psych-cum-stoner guitar layers are well-woven in a surprisingly clear track that drifts along until the end. The album follows suit, and although there seems like there's so much that could go wrong with this kind of production, it's refreshing and flows upon its constructed layers and strong songwriting.

Vile's lyrics continue to approach weird honesty and cool detachment in equal measure, he stands high among his grimy peers with lyrics like, "I'm living all the time thanks 'cause you're mine/ You turn my dying days away/ Each day we carry on like believers and lovers/ Even though there are others who would rather run away." What's most remarkable is that someone put out an album in 2013 that runs 69:03 and isn't a soundscape of pipes clattering in an empty warehouse. If you have to clean your apartment or drive along a historic highway, Vile released your soundtrack.

Verdict: Future Top 10 of 2013 Contender

Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Day