park / a boy named thor - "six new ways to hold your girl while dancing"
[split seven inch]
given the assignment to write three songs each about girls, and dancing we get a perfect split single from two of the best bedroom pop acts around. park consoles with songs about loss, and being addicted to pathos. bass and casios, with minimal accompanyment. a boy named thor throws down crooners and dance songs, absolutly catchy summer songs. limited to only 500 in hand watercolored sleeves. sorry for bad cover scans. i dont know computers.
"like shes addicted to pathos"
"with rusty wires"
a boy named thor
"the bear and the bee"
"dance party usa"
"midnight at the sage"
I was contacted by Christopher from Unread records last week to say he come across 7inches and wanted to send me a few releases for possible review. I am so glad he did. I loved them all and I'm going to give them the individual review they deserve in the next couple of days.
Maybe he caught me with these recordings at the right time but it's the most optimistic stuff I have heard in a while. I think I was a little stuck in a noise/experimental rut, but these seven inches made me want to put the needle back at the beginning of the record and flip it over just one more time. They are pure pleasure. I wanted to hear that melody stuck in my head the next day. Nothing made me happier last night. I played right through all three he sent and took notes. This is great great stuff. Pretty much they all have been recorded at 33 1/3 and packed with tracks. These are all mini EP's and we briefly emailed back and forth about this seven inch possibility, how it's been used by some notable bands and taking full advantage of it. Don't leave any groove unfilled.
This stuff is for fans of home recorded, personal, challenging music. Like early smog records where I never knew what to expect.
The first seven inch I can't get off my record player is the split seven inch pictured above by Park and A Boy Named Thor. Recorded in Chicago in 2000 (at least the Park side) this is a great sample of both artists range, you can really get a sense of them with 3 tracks by each, more than enough to know to look for a full length somewhere.
I don't know a thing about twee, or that genre, I guess it might be classified as such. I just think if it's an interesting song....if the music is good it can be recorded on anything, the songs are good period. I guess if you are into that stuff then get it, but that's not a reason to buy anything in my book.
The first track from Park 'Scout' just immediately took me back to listening to sebadoh or beck for the first time and just realizing it was ok to get it all out, there are no mistakes...that way of working, the earnestness of it. It's impossible to get something to sound like this unless you choose to. The immediacy, trying to capture those temporary moments. I can hear this pouring out of Park all at once one night, staying up until it's finished. That just gets me, that freedom, a reminder of all the possibilities by just pressing play and record.
All I used to do was sit in my bedroom and mess around with the 4 track, this completely and successfully brings it all back. The doubled vocals, quiet keyboard track, overlapped lines from the chorus and microphone bumps....and the fact that I'm listening to it on a record player makes it even better. The second track 'Like she's addicted...' was recorded in a room full of pots and pans, pieces of metal, and he pulls out a likable melody and really interesting drum track out of that pile. There's pieces of sped up recordings, previous tracks under the cassette reel bleeding through at the end of the song. It's like this unearthed jem was saved from blowing in the wind on the side of the road, and thank Unread records for rewinding the tape back on the reel with a pencil and pressing a seven inch, complete with custom watercolor.
A Boy Named Thor, Jason Corace is on the B-side and right away there's a sample from 'Grey gardens' , Edith beale asking the maysles if she'll look ok dancing.
I thought it was playing somehow at 45 though, he's really messed with the pitch of the layers of vocal tracks and it sounds ween-esque. That's another band that completely blew my mind in high school right when you hi that age of really realizing there is a whole crazy world of amazing stuff you can;t even imagine. Everything hasn't been done, and you are a little humbled.
The second track 'Dance Party USA' is a slow echoey high pitch high school dance band song, that keeps changing beats devolving into a drum machine and then back to the live track. This goes from that scene with Michael J Fox trying to save his parents on the dance floor to some kind of roadhouse scene. An instrumental number that even your grandma would love.
Bottom line I am checking out the entire catalog of Unread, and looking further into these bands.
Go now and get all available seven inches from Unread records they deserve every penny. I am jealous, it's hearing something like this, that makes me think I should get off the keyboard and go record something, or at least get someone good to record something and let me put out a seven inch for them.
* * *
Three songs each from Park and A Boy Named Thor, two lo-fi indiepop one-man bands. I shouldn't say lo-fi, though, as these songs sound like they were actually recorded pretty well (no hiss or noise). The Park songs are much better than most of the stuff I've previously heard from him (well, except the third one, which is about 30 seconds of scrapy noise). He plays casio-pop along with guitars, piano and double-tracked vocals. On the flip are three more great songs from A Boy Named Thor, which is jangly acoustic-based pop, reminding me of Tullycraft. His high-pitched voice takes a little getting used to, but I got used to it long ago. Nice handmade watercolored covers, too. - indiepages
* * *
Andy Dierks (Park) and Jason Corace (A Boy Named Thor) are home recording nuts with a penchant for gently twee pop songs. Though their music sounds similar, and pairs well on this charmingly-titled EP, their respective approaches to pop are quite different. Park's material is a bit goofier, making use of low-tech keyboards, insistent bass guitar leads and occasional pot-and-pan percussion. Both "Scout" and "Like She's Addicted to Pathos" will earn smiles from lovers of quirky pop, while "With Rusty Wires" squanders a portion of that goodwill -- and asserts Park's experimental side -- in a noisy, pitch-shifting mass of screeching cacophony that had me convinced my turntable was on the fritz again. A Boy Named Thor's songs are more traditional, favoring tinkly piano backing over heavier keyboard textures. Corace's vocals are a little breathier, lending an earnest enthusiasm to "The Bear and the Bee", while "Dance Party USA" offers a decorous opportunity to get down. "Midnight at the Sage", the closing instrumental, is a gentler, more atmospheric piece than Park's "With Rusty Wires", with some looped crowd ambience behind the guitar and drums. Wrap these seven songs up in some artwork by Geraldine Vo, who did the wonderful cover for The Good Life's Novena on a Nocturn, and you have an enjoyable, if distinctly unassuming, package. - splendid