Fuzzy, Catchy Rock & Roll
Guestroom Records – August 4, 2017
Cereal Glyphs’ self-titled record was one of my favorite that came out in 2015 – Andy Myers did a great job blending super-catchy riffs and melodies with an energetic, DIY aesthetic. The Second Hand finds Cereal Glyphs fleshed out into a larger band, adding a little more edge to the sound, while maintaining a knack for catchy rock.
“Get Up” opens the album with lots of energy as Myers sings “I’m never hurried, I’m never worried – I’ve found another way” – warped guitars plunge behind things during each chorus. My favorite of the album is the ultra-intense “I Wanna Be Your Hand,” which finds the band unified in rhythm and force during each chorus, and is all but guaranteed to get stuck in your head. “Passion’s Not Enough” was released early from the album – it’s driven by a heavily overblown bass, and carries with it a great amount of momentum throughout the song.
Many of the songs on the second half of the album are taken from Cereal Glyphs, and when you listen to the original right next to its remake, you get a real sense of the extra edge and heft on The Second Hand. “The Well” is one of the more mellow tracks on the album, but still feels a lot fuller and weightier than its original recording. “Count the Night” was my favorite on Cereal Glyphs, and it’s one of my favorites here, too – it opens with a dramatic pairing of low, whirring synths and guitar before it takes off a full speed. “Dead Beat” is even faster, and benefits quite a bit from the noisy fullness of a larger band. Closing the album is “Belly of the Snake,” a track that starts off as the most mellow and psychedelic of the album before it takes off for a high-speed outro towards the album’s end.
Those that heard and enjoyed Cereal Glyphs should really like this – it’s every bit as clever and tough to get out of your head, but a noisier band adds some intensity that makes this album even more fun than the last. The Second Hand has a huge amount of energy and momentum – each song moves seamlessly from section to section, and it doesn’t waste a single moment.
Tracks I Liked: Get Up!, I Wanna Be Your Hand!!!, Passion’s Not Enough!, Count the Night!!, Dead Beat!!, Belly of the Snake!
Ben Southworth – August 13, 2017 – Post Road
October 17th, 2015 – Gubbey Records
The Mechanical Hearts EP is the product of Louisville’s hard driving trio, Satellite Twin – the EP is a collection of five spacey, angular songs that tie together sounds from both prog, post, and punk rock. Most of the songs start with extended instrumental sections that shuffle back and forth between off-kilter phrases, and even when they get to the lyrics, they’re usually not around for too long. The instrumental ability of the band is the most important part of the album – two of the three musicians can be doing something fairly repetitive, keeping perfect time while the third goes off on some sort of totally outrageous pattern. Satellite Twin would play well in a live setting – I imagine that the show would only amplify the intensity and excitement that the band is able to capture on the tape. The final track of the album, “cracks and stains (on the marquee slogan)” is the obvious stand out here – you can feel the song getting more and more anxious as it heads towards the chorus, bursts forth into an incredibly catchy recitation of the song’s title, does a quick coordinated turnaround, and heads back into the song’s main groove. Other tracks are good too – the breakdown that happens towards three minute mark of “raise the sign” feels like it comes out of nowhere, and it’s an incredibly satisfying way to end the song. The Mechanical Hearts EP is has a way of being simultaneously atmospheric and hazy while feeling intense and relentless. Another strong release from an inventive Louisville band, this is worth checking out.
Tracks I Liked: raise the sign!!, mechanical hearts!, cracks and stains (on the marquee slogan)!!!
Ben Southworth – November 15th, 2015 – William T. Young Library
auralgamiSOUNDS – January 16th, 2015
The Wrists are a band from Louisville, Kentucky who excel at coming up with catchy, lo-fi tunes. It’s not quite like Pavement, not quite like Wax Fang, and not quite like Jovontaes – the band comes in somewhere between all three, adds its own touch, and they end up being really great to listen to.
They’re able to incorporate nice grooves into the first track, “Untitled,” which then flows straight into the second track. “Tombs” is a little less groove oriented, a little more somber, a few more parts mellow, and totally one of the stronger tracks on the album – the chord progressions and lead guitar playing add some nice emotion to the song. “Went West” has the pop sensibility of a Stephen Malkmus song plus a ton of fuzz, and “The Drip” is appropriately titled for a quick-driving, slimy track such as itself. “Meteor” is my favorite song here – it plays duets between the vocals and lead guitar while the rest of the texture is filled out with all sorts of noise, and remains an extremely catchy track. The album ends with a pair of tracks that fit together, “Into” and “The Cloud” – the former sets them up with harmonious arpeggiation and spacey moans on a reverby guitar before the latter comes in with sounds that approach post-rock grandiosity.
The album is one of my favorites that I’ve gotten to hear in a while. It walks the line between fuzzy garage rock and indie pop, and comes through as a really satisfying listen.
Tracks I Liked: Tombs, Went West, Meteor, The Cloud
Ben Southworth – March 31st, 2015 – Maxwell and Hagerman