(Paisley Shirt Records)
Today, we’re excited to premiere Sediment Seen, the new album from Oakland post-punk band Hits.
A fascinating note when considering the context of Hits’ history as a project is how drastically their sound has shifted in the past four years. In 2016, Hits released Creatures, an under-the-radar experimental pop record. It was more or less the solo project of guitarist/vocalist Jen Weisberg, and while she’s still the lead, Sediment Seen is much more a band effort, featuring Brian Tester (who mastered Creatures but was not credited as a musician) on drums, and the excellent Max Nordile of Preening on bass, moving closer towards what might be called an art punk/twee pop blend similar to bands such as The Raincoats.
When looking at how Hits has changed from Creatures to Sediment Seen, it might be easiest to look at the three tracks the albums share. “Tom From Space”, “Climbing Up”, and “Tried Bikinis” have all received re-imagined re-recordings so different from the originals that they might as well be entirely new songs: “Tom From Space”, once a somewhat slow and spacey pop tune awash in ambient synths, now starts with the literal revving of an engine before taking off with a rumble at a much quicker pace; “Climbing Up”, once prominently featuring saxophone, now doesn’t despite Nordile’s background, instead leaning hard into his thick, watery bass (a clearly very deliberate choice); and “Tried Binkis” now sits at less than half of its original length, transforming a woozy stumbler into a spastic and propulsive rocker, teeming with enthusiasm as Weisberg’s vocals scamper wildly over a raw band performance while electronics skitter in the background.
Urgency is not necessarily a broadly defining word for Sediment Seen as a whole, nor is simplicity, but there is a sense of a back-to-basics mentality that allows the band to place a greater emphasis on the songs themselves and individual charming moments. Weisberg’s vocals may not be the most noticeably technical, but they’re certainly likable, much in the same way an Ana de Silva’s would be considered likable: very ‘cute, quirky girl on drugs’. Which drugs? Depends. If we’re talking stony opener “Stand In Your Way”, it has to be pot; the tripped out following track “Cash Only”, we’re dipping into the psychedelics; “Tried Bikinis”, the uppers. Weisberg’s flexible phrasing does a lot of work on the more minimalist tunes and her guitar holds them down, but that’s certainly not to discredit Tester or Nordile. Tester’s rhythms give Sediment Seen a swift kick in the pants and if we had to hazard a guess, are a large factor in the shift of approach. Meanwhile, Nordile’s bizarre, creative, attention-demanding bass playing assures that Hits still stays plenty odd and engaging.
Sediment Seen is a promising new beginning for Hits, one sure to please those in love with the adorably weird and rough-around-the-edges sound of early Rough Trade bands. There aren’t too many data points to look at just yet, but based on this strong re-debut, this is a lane worth staying in, and one that could lead to some very interesting places going forward.
You can stream Sediment Seen in its entirety below:
Favorite tracks: “Tom From Space”, “Human Sacrifice”
Rating: Strongly Recommended
Hits’ ‘Sediment Seen’ officially releases tomorrow, February 7, digital and cassette via Paisley Shirt Records and is available to pre-order here. While Hits lack social media, you can follow Paisley Shirt Records on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep with the release and future PS releases.