05.22.2015 — “Midnight Garden” by Expert Alterations

Expert Alterations

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Midnight Garden” by Expert Alterations (2015, from the forthcoming Expert Alterations EP).

Expert Alterations is a lo-fi jangle-punk/c-86 trio from Baltimore. The Charm City is on fire right now with a bunch of new acts. There’s certainly a laundry list of those. Among the class of “veterans”, This is That Song favorites Thrushes are triumphantly coming off of hiatus to announce a new album coming soon. One of the newest fantastic Baltimore bands Wildhoney have released a smashing debut record which is already written in pen into my year-end top five. Wildhoney will be one of my MUST SEE shows at this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival, along with fellow Baltimorean Jenn Wasner’s Flock of Dimes. I could go on and on about the number of great bands coming out of “Bawdamoor” right now, and a bunch of seasoned pros from there, but that’s not really the point.

I really don’t know much about Expert Alterations. They’ve only been around for a few years, and they’ve found homes in the venerable labels Kanine Records and Slumberland Records. Every year, my year-end list features a bunch of albums from those labels, and this year will be no different. The band cites some serious 80s/90s UK indie jangle-punk influences like The Wedding Present and Close Lobsters. I can definitely hear Close Lobsters, but not so much Weddoes.

On June 2, Slumberland will release a one-sided 12″ record of the self-titled EP. Simultaneous with that, Kanine will release digital copies. This is one of the songs from that forthcoming EP.

“Midnight Garden” by Expert Alterations

Another UK band from the late 80s/early 90s that I’m reminded of is The Field Mice. Not to be confused with the current Brooklyn indie-pop duo Field Mouse. No. The Field Mice were essentially the poster children of the post-C-86 movement. Remember… The Weddoes and Close Lobsters were actually on the famed C-86 cassette. The Field Mice were among thousands of bands who probably formed because of that cassette.

Expert Alterations undoubtedly also formed in part because of that cassette. Twenty some odd years after the fact. Although they certainly look and sound like they walked right out of 1986, I doubt that any of the members of Expert Alterations were even alive when the massively influential mix tape came out. That’s also not the point.

The point is that this is a great new band from a thriving music scene in Baltimore. Keep your ears and eyes on them. It’s certainly en vogue right now for bands to be a part of the revival of the glorious early-mid 1990s. It’s nice to hear something reminiscent of the somewhat less nostalgia-invoking late 1980s.

A full-length album is in the works and may come out this year. For now, you can and should pre-order the vinyl EP from Slumberland here. Alternately, you can pre-order the digital EP via bandcamp here. With the digital pre-order, you’ll get an instant download of the song “A Bell”.

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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