Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bird Names - Sings the Browns (Really Coastal CS)

Here's one I've been trying to get to for a while put out by Really Coastal, a label whose four releases so far are all super swell. I don't know much about this group, but they put out a nice collection of tunes here, that run the gamut from weird post-ESP folky weirdness to near ethno-derangement, all fed through a band setting and fairly strict song structure. These are some wild tunes however...

The first side opens with "Nature's Over," whose playful, naive Fugs style is a fine initiation into the super distinct sound of this unit. The following "Living Longer" moves through weird pitter-patter rhythms, funky bass and vocal melody lines that are at once frenzied and lazy. There's really a strange and distinct amalgamation of styles going on here, really clattery but still strangely tight. Almost sounds like some long lost weirdo European psych private press or something, only if those dudes had headed out West and pitched camp in some cabin out in Humboldt County. "Defined Stijls" is an oddly Os Mutantes-y lurch, but not driving enough for Brazil's rhythmic tendencies, instead replacing any party sense with slanted country slidings. "Scandanavia" is a little more hurried, almost like a playful and less punked out Butthole Surfers, though still raw. Just lighter.

Really one of the toughest sounds I think I've had to get through, especially since it seems to have arrived fully formed with this tape, though apparently the unit is seasoned and already has four previous albums under its belt. Go figure. Also of interest is that the group apparently more or less holed themselves up in Chicago to do this tape, which means that this was a pretty insular and, likely, mentally effecting go at a studio session. Certainly sounds it. Some of it is Shaggs-like, but it's all quite constructed, jumping from style with no warning whatsoever. A really interesting tape, and a sound that's got to be heard. Doesn't sound "freak-folky" so much as it sounds like some freaks making folk. And they're doing it extremely well. Maybe this review came too late, but find this one if you can. And if you can't, it's getting the vinyl reissue treatment, so be sure to catch the next wave. The best chamber kitchen-folk psychedelic unit I've heard in some time, to say the least. Instant weirdo classic, every song's a winner.

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