Tuesday, October 6, 2009

lesson lesson lessen relearn / russian tsarlag split 7''

For their inaugural vinyl release West Palm Beotch is pulling no punches. This is not the first time the duo of N. Hallonquist and C. Gonzalez have shared a slice of wax (see: the now classic Byron House / What's Yr Damage? split one-sided 12'' on Cephia's) but there's little chance one would mistake this for that. Minus bandmates and 5''s of vinyl, this pair of singles set up on opposite ends of the room (this metaphorical room in particular being a pretty weird place to begin with) and stretch as far as they can to meet in the middle.

Lesson Lesson Lessen Relearn's "Ultra Cultural Bummer" is packed with sounds you can say (burr, whizz, ping, etc). It's an almost entirely synthetic affair (throbbing/pulsing) aside from the sample of lost souls rambling and the faint chirp of our hero's beloved finger piano. Lost in a thick electronic bog you've got two choices: sink down into the swamp via mystic babbling or follow the tinny dripping of plucked metal to fresh air. You know you're doing something right when you make Russian Tsarlag seem like bonafide pop music. I guess you wouldn't even need to pair "The Master's Speech" with a more abstract A-side for it to sound like pop, but we'd have to qualify it as "cult pop" (calls to mind rituals/rites). This is a more straight forward rock n roll ditty (vocals, guitar, drums, all heavy on the fuzz) loaded with the signature tropes we've come to love and fear from the crowned prince of creep: relentless sleaze hooks/incantations, ominous reverb, sinister minimalism, dark art hippie shit. The use of "hippie" stands to be clarified...we're talking Gimme Shelter bummer daze, not flower power. Two high-quality, well matched tracks that can't be praised enough. Get a copy before you can't.

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