Sometimes recordings are better when they aren't sparkling clean. It's easy to tire of perfectly mixed and mastered pop music and search for something raw. This week, CU-Boulder's Radio 1190 is spinning three releases that share a certain grit to their recordings.
Out of Asheville, N.C., comes an excellent reissue from bedroom-pop legends Elvis Depressedly. This split LP features 2013's "Holo Pleasures" with six additional tracks entitled "California Dreamin'." "Holo Pleasures" garnered national acclaim after its release and earned the duo of Mat Cothran and Delaney Mills comparisons to Teen Suicide's Sam Ray and Car Seat Headrest's Will Toledo.
It's good to hear "Holo Pleasures" again, this record was spun heavily at Radio 1190 after its release. The new six tracks are in a similar vein as "Holo Pleasures," but also take the group in a new direction. "Slip" features a groovy, loungy backbeat over the depressing, monotone lyrics we've come to expect. "Holo Pleasures (California Dreamin')" is a stunner under two minutes that references the first EP in a heartbreaking ballad. The new songs sound closer to Cough Cool, bandmate Mat Cothran's extremely rad low-fi side-project. For a group that we already love, this new split brings back the old songs while giving us six more great tracks.
Honey Radar's "Blank Cartoon" takes a similar approach to bedroom pop but veers more to '60s psychedelia than low-fi mumblings. Fans of Ariel Pink or R. Stevie Moore will appreciate Honey Radar's meandering melodies, sound bites, and bursts of feedback.
"Blank Cartoon" is Honey Radar's newest release for New York indie label Whats Your Rupture? — a label known for independent heavyweights Fucked Up, Iceage, Parquet Courts and Royal Headache. The album fits well alongside these names as "Blank Cartoon" has a definite punk attitude that shines through the grit and fuzz. "Beethoven DUI" isn't much more than a simple recording of an ill-tuned guitar. "Caterpiller" throws the record all the way back to the '60s with heavy Cream vibes over vocals with slap-back delay.
"Blank Cartoon" feels like an experiment; listening all the way through is a carnival of musical curiosities.
Finally, The Stargazer Lillies' new record "Door to the Sun" takes British group Slowdive and merges it with modern-day psychedelic music. Sometimes soaring, sometimes rocking, "Door to the Sun" is a musical experience. Waves upon waves of guitars create a wall of sound that wraps the listener in sonic delight.
Kim Field and ex-Soundpool member John Ceperano write all the tunes and perform live with two percussionists. This record is a departure from 2013's "We Are the Dreamers." The vocals used to be clear and ghastly, now they're over-driven and soaring. Track "When with You" is a five-minute rocker dripping with reverb, fuzz and delay. Other stand-out tracks include "Personal Autumn," "Heaven and Hell" and "Golden Key." If you're into shoegaze, loud guitars, and gorgeous instrumentation, check out "Door to the Sun," spinning this week on Radio 1190 KVCU.
Jarocki is Radio 1190's music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists.