02.27.2014 — “Frozen Echo” by Blackstone Rngrs

Blackstone Rngrs

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Frozen Echo” by Blackstone Rngrs (2014, from the Descendant EP).

Blackstone Rngrs is a synth-pop/dream pop trio from Dallas. They formed sometime around 2010 and they released an EP in 2012. Just this week, they’ve released their second EP —Descendant— via the exquisite Texas-based shoegaze/dream pop label Saint Marie Records.

I don’t know much about this band, but I know that I like their new EP very much. A couple of the other songs on the EP, like “You Never” and “Judas Tree”, have a 1979 post-punk/new wave feel, and the other songs feature actual lyrics. This one is different. There’s something that I really love about the wordless vocalizations of singer Ruth Ellen Smith on this song.

The synths and the drum machine create a bit of a hypnotic pulse, and while I don’t usually gravitate to that aspect, I really like it here. I think I had to listen to the song three or four times before I noticed something quite familiar to me. When I tried to focus on just the guitar and the real drums, I was reminded quite a bit of early Throwing Muses. When Tanya Donelly was still in the band and Dave Narcizo didn’t even have any cymbals in his drum kit. The drum pattern on “Frozen Echo” reminds me of the one on the Muses song “Devil’s Roof”. A lot of mount tom and a lot of bass drum, and not much else. I love it. That was always one of my favorite Muses songs to see live, even though the way they played it live was almost completely different from the way the album version from Hunkpapa sounds. The guitar bit also reminds me of Tanya-era Muses, but in a less specific way. The vocals and the synths are very non-Muses.

Anyway, this is that song:

It’s during the “chorus” where that tumbling drum pattern reminds me of “Devil’s Roof”. During the rest of the song, I’m actually reminded of another Muses song — “Say Goodbye”. The bass-heavy, full-band, four-minute version from The Real Ramona rather than the early 37-second acoustic guitar version from Hunkpapa.

I’m probably stretching, but once I got that parallel to the Muses in my head, I just couldn’t get it out.

Although I have been listening to this in a quiet room with headphones on, I imagine this in a big fog-filled room with very little light. I imagine it playing very loud. It’s great.

You can buy the EP in digital format from the bandcamp page, and you can order a physical copy in CD format from the Saint Marie Records web store. Sorry, no vinyl.

For extra credit, check out the official video:

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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