Saturday, 10 December 2011

Work Them Roundup

 A huge thank you to everyone that made it down to the debut Work Them last week at Kraak, we had a brilliant time - got to play loads of good records, you danced to them, can still afford to get our parents something or other for Christmas, jobs a goodun'. Also a big thanks to Dan Nolan and Citylife for our feature in the MEN, which dealt with our personal inspiration for the night/where and who we steal all our ideas from. You can still read that here, if you missed it and are interested.

 We'll be back in February to begin what we hope will be a regular run of 'Work Thems' ("a gaggle of Work Thems") over at Kraak, as well as a possible event of the record playing kind in the party void known as January. Upon our return, we also hope to present a small but golden selection of special guests to reflect our ethos, which we're currently working on, as well as a new mixtape... Anyway, enough cryptic hyperbole, we'll be posting plenty of interesting and fresh music here in the meantime.

 Maria Minerva's A Love So Strong, remixed here by Not Not Fun label boss Ital, proved to be the surprise hit of the night around 2AM last week. Starting off slowly, a good portion of the crowd soon found themselves lost in Minerva's beckoning vocals and hail of chimes, even going for the weird old bit towards the end when the track sounds as if it's reversing in on itself. On later and more sober listens, it becomes clear that this happens a few times throughout, and offers a good example of why the lo-fi dance music of Maria Minerva, Peaking Lights, Grimes and so on has seemed so fresh this year, offering real groove and heart, and still finding time to willfully muck about with conventions.

 Like we said, while our 'Ethos' is a loosely defined, work in progress, we do know what we like; and Tearjerker, a three piece from Toronto, we certainly like. A Bandcamp wild card find, with little information available, Tearjerker describe themselves, in rather meta fashion, as follows;

 'Tearjerker plays music that has been described by various people as indie rock, shoegaze, chillwave, glo-fi/lo-fi and other subgenres that Tearjerker hadn’t really heard of before.'

  'Strangers', a gently touching, almost shoegaze record is the one caught my attention, and something I had on heavy rotation this time last year. It holds off on the fuzziness just enough for you to appreciate the record for what it is, a creepingly melancholic, electronic tinged haze fest. The fuzziness itself, produced by a wonderfully warm and almost droning bass playing with the snare, is one of my favourite aspects of this record; it feeds through the album, leaving you almost enveloped in, well, any other word that equates to 'vibes'.

 In May this year, Tearjerker released a 'self re edit' of Strangers. Track for track re recorded, and slightly tweaked, the result was a lighter, but not necessarily polished version of an already gorgeous record. It retained the fuzziness, but had more clarity, and a generally more airy feel (there's no way I could say 'airy air'), picking up on the track 'Wave' and carrying on. It's interesting that on the two records, different songs stand out more. In my opinion, 'Wave' and 'Downtown' are the stand outs on Strangers, while on Strangers Remade it's 'Slip Away Remake' and 'Best Remake', that I love the most. Possibly something to do with the flipping in tone, they almost turn the lighter heavier, and vice versa with these tracks. That's not to say the original Strangers is 'dark' or 'heavy', it's just a more 'hazy', yet equally layered counterpart. Essentially it comes down to release dates, 'Strangers Remade' is the Summer version of 'Strangers', both wonderful and haunting records, yet without excessive melancholia, it's almost like we have a AW10/11 and SS11 collection of shoegaze, chillwave, glo-fi/lo-fi and other subgenres that Tearjerker hadn't really heard of before, but probably won't stop hearing about from now on.

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