Not to be confused with the Toronto mix-tape guy The Weeknd. This is a three-man band from San Francisco. They’re one of the great new bands responsible for the recent revival of Slumberland Records. They’re sort of hard to classify, but you wouldn’t be out of line to call them any of the following: “noise-pop”, “post-punk”, “lo-fi”, “shoe-gaze”, “pseudo-goth”, or simply “indie”. You can certainly hear in their music the influence of bands like Joy Division, early Echo and the Bunnymen, early The Cure, and Bauhaus. They, perhaps, are in the wrong decade. They should be from sometime between 1979 and 1982.
These guys recorded a couple of EPs, then put out a towering debut album – Sports— for Slumberland Records late in 2010. This was met with great reviews from the press and from the record buying public. They toured a lot in support of that album, then spent a few weeks in the studio to record the Red EP, which was releasd in September 2011.
While Sports is an amazing record, it kind of has the sound of a second generation recording on a previously-used cassette tape. Remember that sound? A little muddy, a little distant, a little more hiss than intended. On Red, it sounds like they spent a little bit of money cleaning that stuff up. It’s crisper. It’s every bit as good, even if it is just five songs long. If it’s a sign of things to come, their forthcoming sophomore lp could be the stuff of legend. The kind of record that people will still be buying decades from now.
All five songs on Red are great, but the one that stands out is “Hazel”. The bass is warm and tasty and so Joy Division-esque that you’ll have to double check that it’s not Peter Hook.
I can’t make sense of, or really even discern the lyrics. Aside from the
Eyes like mine. Hazel…
chorus, there really aren’t lyrics to speak of. There’s something about
when we’re broke we can (?)
when we’re rich, we can forget
The lyrics don’t matter, though. It’s the fantastic blend of the super fuzzy and heavily manipulated guitar sound with the very simple but mesmerizing bass line. It’s the fog emanating from behind. It’s the cool, light mist falling. I don’t know what it is, but it’s one of my favorite songs from 2011.
Buy Red from Slumberland Records using this page. You can get it cheaper from any of the really big digital download stores, but you won’t have the satisfaction of fully supporting a great record label. You also won’t have the satisfaction of getting something that’s nice to look at. The standard 12″ vinyl is red, and there’s a limited edition clear vinyl with gold splatter. It comes in a red vinyl pouch. I’m not gonna lie and say that I have one of these, but it sure does look good in the picture. Of course there’s a cd format, but there’s nothing extraordinary about that packaging.
As far as I can tell, the mp3 of “Hazel” is free for the taking, courtesy of Slumberland. Get it now. You won’t be sorry.