I've been meaning to get to this stack of records for quite a while now. When you write about local music, local music invariably finds its way to your desk. The collection of yet to be reviewed work is growing to the point that I have to peer over the top of it to see the screen while I type this. Procrastination is the mother of invention, but I figure it's time to double down and start pushing these out the door with a weekly roundup. Not too many at a time, I try to be thoughtful about it. So to kick off we'll take a look at the latest efforts from a pair of bands who will be playing for LAVA Presents over at Toast tonight.
ABC / Have Love WIll Travel. -- J Flax & the Heart Attacks.
Side A / Side B Single.
Anyone who's been paying attention knows how much I love J Flax, and this release does little to change that fact. Side A is a raucous sprawling tune, blending the raw power of Surf Rock with freneticism of Jack White -- but without any of Jack's pretensions. That's a shorthand explanation of what is a pretty unique sound in these parts, but if you have yet to experience this group I highly recommend them. The rhythm section lays down a rock-solid tight foundation to provide a wide open playground for Flax's six string acrobatics. Is Side B as strong as the initial track? Ehhhh. But there's still enough of a hook here to make this recommended listening.
Verdict: Buy it.
Serial Coast -- Broken Beaches.
Broken Beaches is a bit of an oddity in that they are a very new band with some folks who have been playing for a very long time. They exploded with a debut at Toast that left everyone talking about them, and then followed up with some successful shows while at the same time going through some pretty quick evolution in line-up. The band is firmly anchored in front-man Saijin Choi's sharply intricate songwriting, conveying an epic sweep through shoegazey anti-pop with razor sharp hooks. Every musician in the group is top notch -- and this EP, while ostensibly at least partly a reworking of previous songs, leaves me intensely satisfied as a listener. Tracks that particularly stand out to me? "Empty." "Golden Lasso." And "Blown Out." There are some seriously dreamy moments interspersed with a churning, relentless groove that threads its way throughout the entire record.
Everything I hear from these guys makes me want to hear more. And I think they're well on their way to being one of the best bands this year in the 757.
Verdict: Buy it.
Both of these bands are playing for LAVA Presents tonight at Toast. Support local music and check it out: Click here for info.