Intimate Lo-Fi Bedroom Pop
Plastic Response // Death Records – March 6, 2017
Those who have seen Dr. Paul perform live can tell you that it’s a unique experience to take in. It’s like going to watch psychedelic karaoke where the singer has written all the songs themselves – the tracks flow into each other, one right after the other, to the point that it becomes disorienting. Calling Daddy Anarchist, in its recorded form, gives the listener the benefit of being able to listen to the music one song at a time, allowing time to digest things and better understand what Dr. Paul is trying to get across.
The album opens with “Artificial Significance,” setting the aural tone for the album with lo-fi, laid-back guitar, affected vocals, and a drum machine chugging in the background – the repeated ‘the future’s just ahead’ has a way of getting stuck in your head. “Up To My Wasted” has an upbeat feel, instrumentally, but lyrics like the opening line, ‘not even the sun can bring me up anymore,’ have a way of making it lonely. Later in the album is “King of Crash Landings,” which alternates between laid-back verses and a more intense chorus with the memorable lyrics ‘it’s like screaming in a vacuum with a knife in your eye // the king of crash landings here saying goodbye.’ My favorite of the album is “Trouble Sleeping In,” which may also be the album’s most accessible and catchiest track – it has some of my favorite lyrics of the album, like ‘wait… I can grow back my long hair // too late… now the timing isn’t there’ and ‘if you ever want for nothing, you can get it over here.’ A few songs later is a solid cover of Beat Awfuls’ “Jackie Ono,” another Lexington band that Dr. Paul plays in.
Calling Daddy Anarchist explores dark feelings of loneliness and disappointment through some really intimate-feeling lyrics and storytelling, though Dr. Paul does a nice job of sprinkling in occasional pieces of humor throughout. Those that like other Lexington acts like Beat Awfuls, Cherry Crush, and Jovontaes ought to really enjoy this.
Tracks I Liked: Artificial Significance!!, Diane Lives too Fast!, Up to My Wasted!, King of Crash Landings!, Trouble Sleeping In!!!, Air Guitar!, Jackie Ono!
Ben Southworth – April 10, 2017 – Kenwick Place
Self-Released January 6, 2017
Cherry Crush’s first release, DEMOS, came out nearly two years ago, experimenting with different approaches to their sound. Since then, the band has solidified their sound into something more instantly recognizable as their own – Turning is a testament to this. The tracks here are compact and flooded in grungy guitar chords, chugging basslines and drums, echoey lead guitar, with reverby vocals placed prominently in front. “How it Goes” starts the EP with this sound, as vocalist Drew Slone sings “I can’t seem to find the way how to make it on my own … I guess that’s just how it goes.” My favorite on the EP is “Made in America,” whose chorus “made in America, born with a loaded gun … think I’m the only one that matters” has been rattling around in my head over the last week. The EP’s title track, “Turning,” is the shortest of the bunch, and another of my favorites – the lead guitar imitates the lonely lyrics “broke into your house last night … I don’t wanna die alone.” The EP’s six songs span just twenty minutes, but further establish a strong presence for the band’s sound and lyrical tone – those that liked DEMOS should enjoy Turning as well – it’s a very strong, concise, great-sounding release.
Tracks I Liked: How it Goes!, Made in America!!!, No Control!, Turning!!
Ben Southworth – January 15, 2017 – Kenwick Place
Pacific Trash – February 25th, 2015
The debut release from Lexington’s Cherry Crush is a reverb-drenched set of five songs that sounds like its from a different decade than ours. The first track is “Ludlow,” a grungy instrumental with a mid-tempo drive of rich guitar sounds, that fades out, leaving only the echoey feedback of the lead guitar. “Okay” is a bit more up-tempo from the previous track, and introduces some vocals – they’re placed well in the mix, and give the song a nineties-esque feel. My favorite song here is the third track, “Nothing Left,” which bursts into things from the very beginning – it’s written a little like a punk song, and if it were without all the reverb, it would probably pass pretty well for one. “Freeze” is a super-spacey track, and has nearly all the front cut off of the guitar sounds, making for an awesome shimmery mess of a song (the bridge has a nice ear-bending feel to it, too). The EP ends with “Ride,” which instantly sounds like the sonic love-child of an old 45 and a warbly cassette tape – it’s a cloudy, slow-burning, lo-fi track that ends with an almost total wash of noise. This song, and the rest of the album, sounds a little like listening to a band playing in a cave, except that you’re standing outside the cave, while the band plays somewhere further down in it. If you’re into shoe-gaze and reverby guitars, this would definitely be something to pick up – I’m especially excited to hear how it sounds on tape.
Tracks I Liked: Ludlow, Nothing Left, Freeze, Ride
Ben Southworth – March 21st, 2015 – Maxwell and Hagerman