You could listen to five or six records, or, just one split. Four bands, all gaining traction in the DIY scene over the past year, came together to release one song each for a seven inch split, courtesy of six labels.
Flowers Taped to Pens bats lead off on this release. “I Suppose It’s Just Our Nature,”could’ve easily made the cut on their self-titled. The song goes off in fuzzy, irritated burst of angst with their trademark screech finding it’s way all over the track. The guitar melody whines back and forth as the drums yank it from left to right. Gut-stabbing yells bleed through pockets of sonic space and continue until screaming voices and a high pitched guitars are the only two left standing at the finish. Although the lyrics are impossible to make out (give ‘em a break, it’s screamo) they are easily the best out of four bands. With lines like “I’ll bite through my cheek to prove I’m still here,” and “You can’t replace the feeling of adapting to feel at all,” this group proves to have ownership of scripting an emotional piece designed to rip at anyone. Aside from the extra sloppy musical performance, this song is not only one of the better ones off this release, but also a high watermark in their collection.
Bread Club steps up next with “If Your Song Title Is “If Your Song Title Has the World ‘Beach’ In It, I’m Not Listening To It,” I’m Not Listening To It.” The name of this track is begging for attention, poking fun at the opener on Dads’ debut record in the hopes that someone will latch onto their edgy wit. But sadly, after hitting the play button, Bread Club delivers with an underwhelming track sounding like a soggy Braid rip off. The perky guitars sound like their forcing a smile for a family picture and the other instruments follow along blindly. The vocal delivery is lazy as if the singer isn’t even interested. The lyrics are stale and when they try to be quirky, like the line, “Once I was a wrecking ball, but you don’t have to keep busting my balls,” it just comes off as uncomfortable. They are a great band, judging from their full length, but this track just feels like it was a quickly written, slightly neglected song standing small among the others.
Beds, the twinkly emo group from Virginia, get their turn as they kick off Side B with the tightest performance off the record so far. This track displays some of their best instrumentals. The sparkly clean guitar rhythms glide easily over the snug and jumpy riff. The drummer, a complete animal, varies up his fills constantly and clearly sits in the driver’s seat for this one, taking everyone with him. The lyrics, sleep themed as usual, are, like the vocal melody, a little too repetitive for a track of this length. This is the one aspect that the band seems to overlook in an otherwise phenomenal song that pushes them into a new territory.
Skull Kid closes things off and it’s a smart thing they did because nobody can follow this monster of a track. These guys can do whatever they want with this song, effortless changing direction, speed, and style without a moment’s notice. “Avengers Song” goes through scenes of being moody, helpless, rude and pissed off. The vocals melodies are drenched in glossy emotions going from sugary pleas, to painful wails, to thundering screams. The song still manages to remain cohesive even with all its changes making it impossible to get boring. Everyone in the band knows their place, leaving room where it is needed and also showing off when they have the spot light. This song will definitely have me rediscovering their full length.
This split gives a taste of some of the bigger acts in the current DIY scene. Under twelve minutes, it’s completely worth a listen to sample. You could end up liking three of four of these artists, or, just one.