8track: Blossomers, Tiny Tiny, William Lawrence, Supertandad, Gardensnakes, HOTMOM, BEX, Of House

8track is a new COUNTERZINE feature where we review 8 tracks by 8 artists and arrange them in sequence like those old 8-Track tapes (the WCW of portable analogue audio media you don’t remember). This edition, Program 1 includes tracks by Blossomers, Tiny Tiny, William Lawrence, and Supertandad, while Program 2 features music by Gardensnakes, HOTMOM, BEX, and Of House.

 

Program 1

 

A1: Blossomers – “Pseudophilia”

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Blossomers

To kick us off on this edition of 8track, we have a quirky and flamboyant indie rocker from Austria’s Blossomers. “Pseudophilia”, the title track off of their recent debut album on Hinterhof Records, means “the love of the fake”, and seems to take aim at the delusions involved when imagining ideals, including those in regards to relationships. The chorus “Pseudophilia / You’re the real thing / I can see you / But I don’t feel a thing” implies some pretty heavy philosophical ideas, namely that many ‘healthy’ relationships lacking in emotional conflict are superficial as partners see the complexities and baggage each other carry, but mutually ignore them in order to maintain peace, preferring superficial “ooh baby, ooh la la”s to true emotional engagement. The sound here is pretty fascinating too: you can hear the influence of Latin rock on the rhythm of the verses, while a later, heavier section featuring soaring guitars is reminiscent of alternative metal. Despite looking like Adam Rose’s metrosexual cousins, there’s a lot of depth to Blossomers thematically and musically. You can listen to the rest of Pseudophilia here. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

A2: Tiny Tiny – “Contempt”

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Boone Williams of Tiny Tiny

Somerset, Kentucky’s Tiny Tiny are up next with their track “Contempt” from their Stripes EP released less than a month ago on Definition Of Records. Two things quickly capture our attention with this one: the bitter nihilism of lyrics such as “Got a match, man / Light it up then / Build it up just to tear it all down again / And that’s the price of / Believing / Gouged eyes look so deceiving / And you’re so proud then / Of nothing / Just a baby playing in your shit there / Do it this way / Hey, that’s where the money is / Nothing ever really made a difference anyway” contrasted with Boone Williams’ soft, earthy vocals, as well as the oddly warped electronics skittering beneath the lead melody, hinting at an ambition beyond standard indie pop. By the time the mouth sounds and tribal rhythms of the chorus emerge, it’s undergone a total shift into a blend of psychedelia, freak folk, and electronica handled tastefully enough to never feel convoluted or overwhelming. Awesome stuff, and you can hear more of Tiny Tiny and Stripes here(socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

A3: William Lawrence – “Back From Where I’ve Been”

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William Lawrence

From William Lawrence’s latest album Slow Dancing on a High Wire, the pastoral dream that is “Back From Where I’ve Been” is our third track of Program 1. A bright and airy slow moving country crooner, the verses are characterized by bright and soaring steel guitar, a steady, echoed drum, and Lawrence’s weary yet soulful vocals, but the song’s beauty truly soars during the instrumental passages where the brass and woodwinds join in and meld together. The result is euphoric, and you can listen to the rest of the lovely Slow Dancing on a High Wire here. Lawrence is also the drummer for The Felice Brothers, and you can check out their most recent album Undress here. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

A4: Supertandad – “Tumble”

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Supertandad

Portland’s Supertandad sees us off of this program on a drifting storm cloud with “Tumble” from his GoodGrief single. Written after his brother had a drug relapse, it’s steeped in a depressive tonal atmosphere and reverb-induced confusion, capturing both the shock and emotional drain the news gave him. Be warned: this is a dark, very unhappy song, with lyrics referring to it being better if he hated his brother and dreaming of drowning. If the idea of Elliot Smith returning to us to make a shoegaze record sounds appealing to you, Supertandad should be right up your alley, and you can check out more of his music here(socials: Instagram)

 

Program 2

 

B1: Gardensnakes – “Sssnakeskin”

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Joey Vanderslice of Gardensnakes (photo credit: Adam Altman)

Well, a lot of Program 1 was a bummer (in a good, therapeutic cry way). Let’s try something a little more ‘fun’ with a big fuckin’ raucous garage punk jam in Gardensnakes’ “Sssnakeskin”. The brainchild of Joey Vanderslice, Gardensnakes put forth a rocker rife with fat, fuzzy riffs and unhinged vocals attempting to break through the wall of sound like a muffled scream. It starts slow and groovy, but by the end it’s mowing you down like a freight train. Sure, there are a lot of bands doing this kind of thing, but that only stands to show how impressive Gardensnakes are for being the catch of the day when there are so many fish in the sea. You can listen to the rest of Gardensnakes’ self-titled debut album here(socials: Instagram)

 

B2: HOTMOM – “Crutch”

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HOTMOM

Carrying over the propulsive momentum from the end of “Sssnakeskin” are Austin, Texas’ HOTMOM with the blistering hardcore of “Crutch”. The lead single from their upcoming Crass Lips EP Stupid Vegan Band, “Crutch” is pure, bottled raw aggression smashed over your dome. The band refer to themselves as “dum vegan liberal propoganda”, which, let the record show, is one of our favorite strains of propoganda, especially when it’s this violent. We normally don’t condone crowd killing here at COUNTERZINE, but this makes me want crowd kill MAGAts. Stupid Vegan Band is out January 24 and is available to pre-order here(socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

B3: BEX – “Hope You’re Warm”

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BEX

Asheville’s BEX bring us back to the sad stuff with the lead single from their upcoming EP Don’t Mess With Bexas. “Hope You’re Warm” was written in the wake of and based off the experience of losing a friend: the grief, as well as the regret. Direct lyrics such as “Lights flicker and doors creak / I think it’s you telling me / You made it through”, “Wish you warned someone / Wish I had replied”, and “I miss my friend and I’ll see / Or hear your voice again someday” hit hard, and the sound exists somewhere between the land of dreams and reality, active and clear enough to imbue the surreal aftermath of a loved one passing with unavoidable, unmissable devastation. Don’t Mess With Bexas releases Valentine’s Day, February 14 and is available to pre-order here(socials: Facebook)

 

B4: Of House – “Get Free”

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Of House (in motion)

We close things out with Detroit’s Of House and their song “Get Free” off of their album Feelings. Featuring the beating heart of a steady drum machine, hushed, blended male/female vocals, thick, chunky guitar chords, and a simple but effective synth hook, “Get Free” is about perseverance against the burdens the world places upon you. It’s not grandiose in the traditional sense: the moment that they bust out for a big moment and “get free” never truly comes over the course of the song, but you can still feel their strength and positivity rumbling, undeterred. That’s what life is really: you never truly “get free” in the literal sense, but the constant rally to do so is empowering and liberating in its own way. What I’m trying to say is this one is both a bummer and uplifting, which is pretty cool. You can listen the rest of and pay-what-you-want for Feelings here(socials: Facebook, Instagram)

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