I’ve been waiting for this 7inch from Matt Mondanile’s Ducktails project for a long while now. Maybe, more specifically, I’ve been waiting for “Pizza Time”, probably the single of ’08, to have a legit release. I’ve spent more hours on myspace than I care to admit just playing that track since I discovered it earlier in the year. Over all this time, my expectations had grown to astronomical levels. So, does this little record deliver on all its promise?
The first side kicks off with the breezy “Beach Point Pleasant”. Effortlessly feel-good-about-your-life music. There’s a twangy, super-surfed guitar whipping up wonderful lines against a multitude of hazy keyboard layers. There’s a looping slot machine keyboard jingle that the whole track is built upon. Oxymoronically, it’s cloudy and sunny at the same time. I’m not all that sure what to write about this. It’s just… good. Really really good. “Pizza Time” is what some might call “da bomb” and they’d be right. My girlfriend and I listen to it every time we eat pizza (every other day probably). I listened to this track hundreds of times and the piece has not lost one molecule of its charm. Truth be told, it’s one of the catchiest things ever written/played/recorded/whatever since the beginning of time. It features one the grooviest guitar parts in recent memory and the best use of an auto-wah pedal I’ve ever heard, killer drum machine beat, the works. When Mr. Mondanile reaches for the low notes in the bridge, it’s pure heaven. The second side features “The Gem” in two parts. This side represents an a little spacier area of the Ducktails sound. Heavily flanged keyboard and drum machine build and build through the length of “Part 1”. “Part 2” continues in the same vein but jacks up the tempo a bit. All the little melodies and counter-melodies come through clearer in the second part and you can really catch all the intertwining lines. The ever pumping drum machine gets erratic towards the end but still jams like there’s no tomorrow. Fantastic record.
Though I’m always happy when George W. Myers peddles ear candy like this Ducktails record and last year’s Cherry Blossoms LP, Breaking World Records made its name on zany Western Mass stuff like this Bromp Treb 7inch. Co-released with Yeay! Cassettes and Apostasy Recordings, Twins is all over the place. All the source material comes from drums apparently and there’s some sort of tape manipulation/tape collage thing happening with those sounds. Some sounds sound rough and percussive and some sound like voices and dogs barking and some sound like popping bubbles. He must be using every part of the drum here just like the Indian used every part of the buffalo. Because, shit, I don’t understand how all this stuff used to be straight drums at some point. There doesn’t seem to be any coherent “structure” here just a vomiting forth of sound if you can dig it. Flip the record over and you get “Birdie Flies”. The sounds here are (surprise!) recognizable as drums. A drum duel ensues with lots crash, whiz and bang. The drumming sounds a bit more ragged and sharp edged than other drums-only groups. There’s a looser feel that works for this guy. There’s a great part at the end where things come together very nicely in semi-rehearsed fashion; a mid tempo tom-tom stomp where both drum tracks almost double each other but keep things interesting with slight diversions and nuances. For fans of drums and weird noises.
As always the best thing about a record on Breaking World is the artwork by Mr. Myers, the finest pen in the underground. The Ducktails artwork is soft and mellow, perfect companion for the music. The labels are cool too. I like the front cover of the Bromp Treb, but it’s the back cover that’s really happening; pseudo-symmetric, psychedelic Where the Wild Things Are shit. Totally great. Cool labels too and all the album info is printed on the inside of the cover. Both are cheap and still available from their respective labels.