It’s our Bandcamp Picks of the Week, featuring the melting power pop of Dazy’s MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD and the entertaining noise rock of Rearranged Face’s A RARE CAGED FERN.
Dazy – MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD: THE FIRST 24 SONGS
Genre: Power Pop, Garage Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Fool In The Mirror,” “See The Bottom,” “Kitchen Sink,” “Passing Ways,” “Bright Lights”
As presented, MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD feels immediately intimidating. Not only is it 24 songs long, a girthy tracklist by most metrics comprised of singles, EPs, and new material recorded all over the last year, but the fact that it all comes from the mind and home recording setup of one man, James Goodson, warps the project into a presupposed fixation on creativity and songwriting that recalls plenty of heady musical auteurs whose own DIY bonafides have become the stuff of lore.
And while I’d remain quick to confirm these qualifiers as intimidating, Goodson’s ear for rock and pop hooks subverts the thousand-ways-to-skin-a-cat genius on display. These two dozen songs became a focused, almost obsessive exercise in nuance and craft—writer David Anthony flags in the liner notes that the music is at times Godflesh covering Oasis (“or maybe the other way around”), but that “X, but make it Y” approach becomes Dazy’s blown out charm. Each song blitzes by, slightly shifting and evolving the sonic idea that came before it; fuzzy power pop songwriting bends but never breaks to the will of modern skate punk, ‘90s radio post-grunge, lo fi bedroom pop, and early college rock. Dazy’s deep bench means that some of the best tracks are buried well within the albums back half (don’t sleep on the Britpop glam of “Passing Ways” or the ravey rhythms of “In My Dreams”), but the immediacy of the songs and the compiled nature of the project also make each a single waiting in the wings. You can check out MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD: THE FIRST 24 SONGS over on ye ‘ole Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]
Rearranged Face – A RARE CAGED FERN
Genre: Noise Punk
Favorite Tracks: “Hot C.D.,” “Lonely Elevator”
I think about why I like certain albums all the time. (Because I was a lonely child, if I had to hazard a guess.) In terms of genre, production, etc., why does this LP shine or why does it fall flat? Alternatively, why did everyone love KID A and it took me years to unenthusiastically agree? A RARE CAGED FERN, the latest from Los Angeles punk band Rearranged Face, is just such a head-scratching album, because no matter how often I’ve listened to it, and no matter what I’m doing while listening, my appreciation for this record has never fully settled. And that’s because there’s as much to love as befuddle on this seven track, 17-minute affair.
That run time, for instance, is a huge part of the LP’s success. The band’s distinct brand of extra spazzy, avant-garde-leaning punk is as irksome and grating as it is genuinely charming. So having less to engage with feels like a victory, and the band recognizes that. “Menaced Assassin” is a disastrous hodgepodge of junk noise and blown-out garage—it works because they keep this “experiment” to a tight 112 seconds. “Hot C.D.” is similarly lean, and while it may be feel less fully-formed than its counterparts, it’s a deeply catchy song in its specific confines. Rearranged Face have mastered their shtick, and when they fully control of those batshit tendencies they’re an excellent rock band. Just listen to “Lonely Elevator” and dazzle at the tightrope act on display.
Rearranged Face just as often let their own experimental desires and off-the-wall aspirations get the better of this record, though. Opening track “Titular Story” is a mad-cap dash of desert rock—if you cut off the first minute and the last 20 seconds. “Dreadful Apparition,” meanwhile, isn’t quite so clean, and while there’s a great punk song in there, it suffers from an overt interest in experimentation that the actual song can’t facilitate. The same goes for “Menaced Assassin;” it’s not that the song suffers from needless run times or added noise/effects (though that could be true), but rather the band’s needless rush to push boundaries. There’s heaps of needless noise on top of great hooks, heaps of attitude, and genuine charisma.
If I’ve come off too negative for having chosen this as a pick, that’s all me. (Again, lonely childhood.) Because, when I listen to this album, I can walk away feeling like I was genuinely entertained, even if that’s not clear immediately. It’s like having a convo with an old friend: maybe you don’t agree on everything, but you can feel the meaningful connection. Maybe you won’t sing songs like “Chin Brute,” or even remember their titles, but this LP’s good enough to enjoy. Perhaps you’ll join this formerly lonely boy in grappling with why that’s ultimately worthwhile. Listen over on Bandcamp. [Chris Coplan]