Saturday, August 23, 2008

Shepherds – Bush Babies [DNT]/Gang Wizard – I Remember You From the Party in Long Beach [DNT]

7 inches are a reviewer’s dream in a lot of ways, well one major one: they’re short but still substantial (and usually rad—is that 3 ways?) Anyway, it’s not important to talk 7 inches in theory when you got a real one on yr turntable. Lucky me, I got two.
The first comes from Shepherds, which is Jeremy Earl (of Woods and Meneguar; who both know how to make awesome 7inchers in their own right) and G. Lucas Crane a.k.a. Nonhorse. Despite the greatness of the duo on paper I’ve always been a little on the fence about them but Bush Babies has firmly swung me to the pro-Shepherds side of aisle. I think I remember reading that this piece of primal aggression and beauty was supposed to be part of DNT’s split 3” cdr series but it was too long/awesome Tynan (DNT’s head honcho) rightly decided the world needed 700 copies of this sucker. “Side A” starts with a driving, tribal drum workout. I’m guessing this is Earl. When Crane’s contributions finally poke their heads out things go momentarily apeshit. There are friendlier smoother sounds clashing with rougher distorted ones with the drums in the eye of the storm. At one point a trumpet (99% sure) suddenly appears, I’m wondering if this is a sample from Crane’s bag of tapes or what cause it sounds live but there is definitely other manipulation and whatnot going on so I think it’s impossible. Meanwhile, Earl is just pounding the shit out of the drums and I’m loving it. Then on a dime, the drums sputter out and a morose wash of brass seeps in.
The b-sides takes up “Bush Babies” where the a-side left off, seeing the brass get more active/jazzy with the drums following suit. A nice little jam ensues, particularly nice for the appearance of a backbeat in the midst of the freejammin’. The track really hits its stride here, locking the listener into its hypnotics. I’m curious to know what exactly Crane was up to here (if it’s all tapes) because there is a grinding distorted violin-type sound amongst the spurts of brass and rounder keyboard-esque tones. A impressively broad mix of sounds while keeping up such a fiery improv attitude.
My next subject is Gang Wizard’s I Remember You From a Party in Long BeachDNT’s second foray into the 7inch world. Beginning with the end of another song, lead off track “Lemonade Folly” easily, immediately stakes its claim as my favorite track here. With a super catchy, slippery/sloppy slide guitar riff leading the pack, the rest of the band gets the message and follows with their own ramshackle pounding and whirring, resulting in a deliciously pseudo-atonal, pseudo-arrhythmic treat. The title-track is a brasher affair. I’m digging the clanging guitarkeyboarddrum brew but the Magik Markers-esque female vocals kill my buzz a bit. The track doesn’t get very far before the cut but “I Remember You From the Party in Long Beach” continues with “I Remember You From the Party in Long Beach (cont)” on the b-side. There’s an excellent breakdown with sustaining feedback, plinking keyboard hits and a drum solo where things really come together for a while dissipating into extended coughing(??). However, things pickup again for the finale with another drum solo this time mainly dueling with a squealing oscillator.
So there you go, DNT has given you two options to feed your primal 7inchin' desires. The Shepherds one as mentioned earlier is limited to a generous 700 copies available on white vinyl and comes with a full-size insert. The Gang Wizard is packaged minimally with “Fang Wizard” stamped all over the orange label. There are only a few copies left apparently so jump on that if you’re interested. Both are available postpaid for the super low $4-5 price range i.e. get ‘em.

No comments: