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While Lost At Sea endeavors to run a great deal of what it receives, there are still scads of releases that slip through the cracks - things too obscure, too transient or (yes) too bad to earn a full review.
EPs and CD singles are particularly hard to deal with because there are so many of them - and they are so small - that they often get lost in the shuffle. This sometimes means that deserving bands, not yet popular, wealthy or experienced enough to record a full-length do not reach the listeners who might enjoy them. In the interest of rectifying the situation, Lost At Sea has dredged through recently received EPs and singles to weed out a select few and recommend them to those who may be interested.
This Radiant Boy
Shakedown At the Russian Disco
It's hard to dislike sunny boy/girl vocals with repeating choruses that just build and build over splashy cymbals. Endearing but never forcefully cute, Shakedown skips between Velocity Girl sugar rush and the mid-'90s revival of the mid-'60s, with a peculiar mid-'00s sensibility. It's the next best thing after actual Russian discotheque music.
We Burn Bridges
Lost At Sea gets a lot of hardcore records, including quite a few EPs. Caligula sets itself apart from the flood of hardcore, screamo and metalcore records that come in every month by segueing between tracks with some slow post-rock bits and drum machines in between heavy guitar thrashings. The end result isn't astonishing, but does rise promisingly above the murk of a genre overcrowded with competently uninteresting bands.
Another Day Over
Bonemachine's slow, slinky EP is flush with strange noises and detours into different sounds. Opener "Another Day Over" croons Thom Yorke-style over trip-hop grooves and a brass bass bump. The rest of the EP occasionally strays into gothic Mezzanine-era Massive Attack but mostly sticks to a reliably eerie swank welcome in a post-100th Window world.
The Mean Way In
Division Day plays the moody piano-driven rock filled with long, sympathetic tones. The band's peaks are occasionally interesting, as is the quick build early in "There Is No Telling." The band paddles through murky, deep blue water to get to the separate points on the album's strangely obscured emotional map. The deep drums are particularly appealing on this six-song EP.
Boogie Woogie Rumble
A note from the Safes to certain successful pop-punk-rockers: Every pop punk band should just make 10 minute, five track blazers that are practically gone before they're over. They should also each have a two-minute instrumental like the Safes' do on Boogie Woogie Rumble. The early days of punk, after all, were built on singles and EPs, not nine-minute operettas.
Finnish/Irish rock outfit Outcold plays upbeat pop rock that sounds like it was made ten years ago and then sealed away in mason jars in the basement for a time when "alternative rock" was faded print on a radio station programming guide. Outcold's brisk four song jaunt sounds better removed from those times, like a refreshing glance into a past still too recent to be victimized by regurgitation trends and parasitic VH1 specials. Listeners who bought File Under: Easy Listening and Copper Blue from the dollar bin and are still not satisfied may want to further investigate Outcold.
The Upwelling makes dreamy, glowing rock like Ride at half speed. Their music is a bit cluttered with those squeaky electronic effects people feel compelled to add since this is the '00s and if we don't have flying cars and surgically implanted cell phones we're certainly going to take advantage of our squeaky future noises. But the hubris doesn't detract much from a solid little rock EP.
The Loud Clappers
At the Smash Party
The Loud Clappers' EP begins with a panoramic zoom and echoing announcements. It's almost like later period, ambition-ridden Britpop in its size. The band's rock is brazen and topped out, with metallic-tasting bleed all over the sound like it was recorded with the amps turned too high in an empty barn. This is, however, a good thing, most of the time.
Erick Bieritz lives in Chicago, where is usually either very hot or very cold. He was the brainchild behind EPMD, where he wrote about EPs and singles for LAS, looking for overlooked or underappreciated non-album releases.
See other articles by Erick Bieritz.
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