will simmons - "rain, tonight"
pittsburg has more then three rivers flowing through it. will simmons breathes in and out the tainted oxygen, rubs the rust from the steel strings, and lets another batch of tunes take hold. even though these songs were recorded over the past (how long has it been? ie: see catalog number) half dozen years, and it has been a good decade or so since the last proper simmons release, these two sides go down smooth...and keep you guessing as to what exactly has passed you by? here we see seven short snippets that glimpse as much into the past as they do towards the future. will has always had a knack for grasping the "tone" and this disc is not short on tone. you get haunting beauty. wispered melody. long drives into the early morning fog. oh - and an instant classic quirky pop song or two. limited to an initial pressing of 100 copies in silkscreened sleeves. includes digital download.
"most office theme"
"tiptoed on tiles"
Here's another single from Will Simmons on long-running, Unread records. I think some of the first singles I got over four years ago were from Chris at Unread there and they have since completely inspired me to be able to press singles myself. A label can be this unpretentious, this sincere with no ulterior motive but to press stuff he was into for his friends and getting great artists out there into the world. That's why he's still around years later while I'm just writing about them.
I'm all talk, obviously.
'Rain Tonight', the first track on the A-Sid inevitably sounds like The Minks I was just listening to all afternoon probably in that same minimal way, how the notes are held forever. Also sounds like a Gold Robot single from Roman Ruins vocally, emotionally and physically close, a (Smog) feel...the slow songwriting school.
'Most Office Theme' I want to hear more of right away. I love the diversity of the 7" EP but then the one you really like it far too short, the on,y down side. Layers of plucked chords, their harmonies... this might be my favorite track, so many inspiring ideas here in less than a minute.
I love to hear a raw experimentation like, 'Chase Scene' which would be another sketch if it weren't for the brass section orchestration. The sparse, live room drum sounds with a back and forth of utilitarian guitar and bass against the frantic rim shot beat is at the perfect place, way more planning than a jam but not overdeveloped. Slow building horns over a little bit of a menacing tune.
This 5 the 2011 7" vinyl equivalent of an old '90s Sebadoh tape. You don't know what's coming next...it's not concerned with coherency or an overall concept. It's showing off just a little bit maybe, getting off on this genre jumping. Who doesn't have these pieces without a home lying around forgotten in the depths of shoe boxes full of cassettes. Sometimes the only way to exorcise those ideas is to put 6 minutes on two sides of a seven inch.
The liner notes, as you would expect are as massive as the track list. Really extensive notes from Will and a writer friend of his.I get off especially on reading these two takes on each track. I, of course can relate to taking every song seriously and spending time with them as their own entities - the weird paths they take. I'd love to see more of this, the combination of my two favorite things, listening to music and reading about it. You know how many albums I've come to love through appreciating someone else's experience of the artist?
Will Simmons strength is listening to what the song is telling him, what direction any particular piece needs to go because he can execute all of it. The slight flamenco of 'Tiptoe on Tiles' to the pop 4 track of 'Blue Blonde' to cheap Casiotone beats under sweet reverb on 'Spy theme'. Which is channeling instrumental suspense music so familiar I know it's been used somewhere. Beyond just genre is his willingness to experiment with tones...I think he's got a steel drum or is that a synth. He's taking chances, transforming the lowly everyday sounds into complex compositions. I respect the process of elevating these sounds to something else. This process leads to the best kind of music. The self-made music that handicaps itself from the beginning because whatever success you find at the end is going to be based on your talent putting it together. You won't be fooling yourself, hitting on a few lucky chords recorded on a terrible tape payer so people mistake the production quality and energy for talent. - SEVEN INCHES BLOG
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Guitarist previously for the Hope-Harveys and currently for the Four Roses, Simmons utilizes the 7-inch format for as many tracks, and plays virtually everything. Nothing lasts more than a couple of minutes, which makes the stylistic variety -- gentle pop, a polka/gypsy instrumental, a Dr. Demento contest entry that works without the novelty -- memorable and engaging. -- Mike Shanley (pittsburg city paper)