Los Angeles’s (VxPxC) have been blowin’ up hardcore this year, with releases on Abandon Ship, Foxglove, Digitalis, Dead Sea Liner, Leaf Trail, Phantom Limb, Buried Valley, Burial Mound Tapes and now, Tape Drift. (dig that sly bury/tape transistion?) They’ve been getting great press, selling out releases left and right and doin’ that (VxPxC) thing that they do so well. Now I haven’t met them or nothing but it seems like such acclaim couldn’t be bestowed upon a better bunch of guys. Tim, Grant and Justin supposedly get together every week and play music just cause they dig it so much, which gets them gold stars in my book—not to mention, explaining the impossibly steady stream of releases coming from the (VxPxC) tent.
After throwing on Lizard in the Spring some sweet sounds creep into yr ears immediately. The opening track, “Heated Temples” sets the bar high with a Sleeping Babies-esque bout of hovering keyboard drone, otherworldly female (or male falsetto?) vocals, sporadic percussion and a twinkling glockenspiel and harmonica outro. Wistful and wonderful. “Sidewalk Melter” continues with vibes and delay-effected guitar duetting while a second guitar wrangles some lurking feedback. At some point, percussion and seemingly inebriated vocals enter and the whole thang gets groovin’ while guitar and harmonica slide in and out. A brief ten second organ outro ends the affair most lovingly. It’s only two tracks in and it’s already contender for best (VxPxC) yet. “Summergirls” rounds out the heat theme titled trilogy. It features an off kilter arrangement of viol(a/in), organ and a squirty sounding synth or oscillator. Though initially strange, it actually works really well, the violin/organ make an excellent drone duo. That only lasts for about three minutes though. The track changes up and gets really foggy and dense, with the occasional clip of guitar or harmonica or vocal or keys sliding out in front. “Summergirls” actually reminds me quite a bit of GHQ, though less solemn and, maybe a bit more playful. “Scurrying Stones” is the weirdest song on here thus far. For a while it gets kung fu on yr ass with weird percussing and gonging, and then it gets weirder when it gets kinda poppy. Two guitars start rocking a rhythm/lead relationship backed by a skittering percussion loop. Harmonica continues it’s supporting role throughout the record and riffs over the guitar simmer. The inevitable epic banger comes next and it’s called “Praying for the Regurgitation”, and it sounds like the classic revelation/epiphany scene music from a 90’s movie where the guy/girl realizes he/she loves the guy/girl—only spread out for 13 psychedelic minutes. It seems to be mostly a glistening keyboard/guitar festivity, which sounds good to my ears. The guys show themselves to be masters of improv here, sustaining the same sparkling idea/sound while stretching it into different places at the same time. A few tape manipulations conclude the track and it slides into the closer “In Day’s Light”, which goes about pulling an ascending float to the heavens in only 3 minutes. Quite a feat, if you ask me.
This is woozy music, woozy I tell ya, the whole album is one big woozefest and I’m lovin’ it. (VxPxC) has a wonderful knack for sounding groggy but actually being totally on their game. I’m not sure what it is or how they do it, but they sure get it done with style. My poor attempt at metaphor goes as such, Lizard in the Spring is a friendly old man suffering from dementia, telling you dirty jokes and singing made-up hymns in ear with the pure, selfless intention of bringing a smile to your face. Does that help? Probably not. I guess yr just gonna have to listen for yourself.
Now, I haven’t heard all of this year’s (VxPxC) releases but I have heard a few, and I think that Lizard in the Spring is my pick so far. That could very well change over the next couple months when the guys drop another thousand releases; for now though, I am content to bask in its glory (like a lizard in the spring?)
Still available direct from the label, but I’d move quick because it's limited to 100 and (VxPxC) brand merchandise has been selling out increasingly quickly as of late.