Crow’s Nest 34: 061222
y’all see that Uranium Club is playing Thalia in September
Howdy, welcome to issue 34 of Crow’s Nest. Thank you for opening this and spending some time perusing its contents, I appreciate it.
Some notes for Illinois folks:
-Today is the final day to register to vote online for the primaries on June 28th. You can still do so after but you’ll have to register in-person. My mail ballot is sitting on a side table right now.
-Chicago Public Square, a Chicago news/liberal media newsletter, has assembled a guide on the primaries to help guide your decision making. Don’t blindly re-elect judges out of ignorance.
-If you recently received $397 as a part of the Facebook BIPA settlement, or have been jealous of those who have received them, there’s a new settlement with Google Photos under BIPA. It’s an estimated $200-400 payout that’ll get to you sometime by like 2024. You don’t need to prove your rights were violated by a picture of you getting uploaded to Google Photos while a resident of the state, and if you have any minors/dependents you can file a claim on their behalf too per CPS.
Alright no essay this issue but a housekeeping note: after 5.5 years I have *finally* upgraded my phone from a 1st gen iPhone SE to an iPhone 13. Expect concert pictures to be more higher resolution or something soon. The old SE was actually too old to qualify as a trade-in lol, so I guess I need to figure out what to do with that. Donate it elsewhere? Download some apps and start mucking around with music making on it? Idk, suggestions are appreciated.
Happy 10th anniversary to this beaut:
Now let’s get to the main stuff:
If you know my listening habits you might’ve been surprised the last few issues by the absence of a blurb on Wet Leg’s self-titled. Riding a somewhat bewilderingly large hype wave even by contemporary UK post-punk standards—proving the value of Sirius XM playlisting, from what I gather—I hadn’t spent time with it since it didn’t appear via Bandcamp link in my inbox, and my Spotify ‘listen through’ playlist is clogged like a fatberg. A couple spins of this explains the excitement.
Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers have crafted a wonderful ode to young adulthood in an infectious indie pop palette. Hooks from songs including Angelica and Convincing have been drifting in and out of my head for days, the same way a lovely house party conversation sticks with you. Their lust and desire is obvious—Wet Leg might be Britain’s horniest musical export since Arab Strap—but their charm does make (at least me) want to join one of them somewhere quieter for another drink. They may not demonstrate the intellect to make a bad party an artistic tragedy, but they accept that it’s better than staying home, cheaper than a bar and there’s still a cutie there to seduce. Sometimes that is all you need.
Drummer Tobi Vail rankled feathers last year with a bizarre tweet about a resurgent interest in shoegaze as abetting the spread of fascism, lulling people into aesthetic complicity or something. Many including myself dismissed it as a wild potshot or responded with ironic contempt. Safe to say Vail’s latest release, the second album from punk trio Girlsperm, doesn’t indulge in smooth textures. There’s a hell of a lot of toms coming from the kit, the guitars are high-pitched and spiky, and the music is very pissed off at everything. This has been added into my rotation of ‘noise rock to calm me down at work’ albums, perfect for me to dissipate anger from the emails job while I guide another coworker through how to test my programming changes.
Much noise is being made of the teen indie rock scene that has come up around me here in Chicago over the past couple years, and I’m looking forward to seeing new voices start carrying their own torches at shows over the next few months. The biggest name from the scene is Horsegirl, exemplary students of the 90s Matador roster and more, who are also the most 90s Matador-sounding artist on Matador today, despite not having been alive during that period. Versions of Modern Performance—laid down at Electrical Audio with contributors including Steve Shelley and Lee Ranaldo—doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but the trio don’t need to do so at this point. Songs as great as Anti-Glory and World of Pots and Pans will always be welcome, and I look forward to seeing where this all goes from here.
It’s articles time:
-Pitchfork had a recent articles series on the intersection of music and technology. Jeremy D. Larson’s discussion of being addicted to Spotify is worth a read.
-Ever gotten so pissed off at one of your coworkers you steal terabytes of classified hacking tools that you, a principled libertarian working for the CIA, pass on to Wikileaks? Patrick Radden-Keefe reports on the saga of Joshua Schulte about this. Yes, ‘principled’ is doing a lot of work there.
“Someone should do a contemporary update on the Swedish progg sound” — Me, to myself, occasionally. Not that I commissioned this but, since Rocket Recordings has taken the time to do so, I will indulge. OCH fold in kosmiche stylings on top of their native influences. It’s not as lengthy or noisy of a listen as something like Pärson Sound but the trip remains worth it.
I believe contemporary science has indicated that classical and metal provokes similar brain activity responses in their listeners, which also explains why I’m not a big fan of either genre. This bewitching release from a one-man project in Brasilia has caught my ear though. The dynamic range is compressed such that the blast beats don’t really explode as much as layer on top of the xylophone-minimalist rhythm lines. Much of it sounds more like a slow-building day time dance opener. The album title, per Google Translate, is ‘unpaired’ in Kurdish and there isn’t too much I know of that’s similar to this, tbh.
I admire art rock for expanding the possibilities of what can be done in a rock band structure, not to mention how their weirdness and freakiness can produce higher highs when it all coheres. Coherence is a requirement though, if the internal logic of a group is impenetrable to those off stage, the result is just off-putting. Detroit/Brooklyn group Saatjak navigate this line … artfully—they’re constantly one step beyond what you might imagine, yet understanding never feels out of reach or purely inscrutable. Alex Koi’s delivery reminds me of Fishdoll’s Noonsense, of all things, and there sounds takes them to same jazz-y spaces as well.
Atomnation head a bit south to Spain for their latest EP from Spanish producer Argia. Well-shaped kick drums throughout. I’m a sucker for half-note melodies so when things start picking up on the 2nd half with ‘The Last Tiger’ you know I’m feeling blissed out.
BORN BAD RECORDS has a very solid streak of digging up French music, both contemporary and archival, that deserves wider respect and admiration. This suite of indie janglers with very old-school rock ‘n’ roll elements from Les Calamités has grown on me recently as I dug into some other titles after a release announcement prompted me to dip my toes into back catalog.
Let’s wind this issue down with a solid 12” that I believe comes from a Berlin production duo. Nothing much more to say about this one, just say yes to tech-no.
And that’s going to be it for issue 34 of Crow’s Nest. If you’re here reading this, thank you for doing so, hopefully something within caught your ear. Even if you can’t make things better, strive not to make them worse.