It’s my life
It is my voice
It is stupid
It is my noise
-- “My Noise”, Superchunk
“Radical Dads” is yet another terrible bandname.
But Universal Coolers is a great record.
Or maybe it’s not. I can’t trust myself to tell, when this is an album that pushes so many of my pleasure buttons. I am helpless to resist.
This is ’90s Amerindierock all over again, before that stopped meaning shouted emotional desperation over skull-drilling trebly hooks played on noisy lo-fi guitars, and started meaning ukeleles and bowler hats and Mason jars.
This is the sound of teenage and early-twenties aimlessness, and timeless epic melodic melancholy; of kids with too much education and too much cheap beer conspiring to produce something deceptively-ambitious while trying -- and failing miserably -- to come off like they don’t care at all.
It’s the sound of fearing that your options are closing down, even as impossibly-wide vistas open up in all their vertiginous and terrifying beauty.
If you still play your old records by Superchunk and Sleater-Kinney and Built to Spill and GbV and Archers of Loaf and Pavement, you need this, trust me.
And in true indie fashion, it’s only seven
inches bucks on Bandcamp, so get on that.
I’m not quite as sold (yet) on Pile (though, at least that’s a way better bandname), who draw more from the post-hardcore wing of that era -- tricky shifting time signatures, tangled dissonant guitars (think your Polvos and Fugazis and Jawboxes), drums that slam like Bitch Magnet’s, and vocals that sound more than a bit indebted to Black Francis.
Still, if it’s maybe just a little bit intentionally-impenetrable, at least you can’t accuse it of being content to be polite:
Pile’s You’re Better Than This is also available from Bandcamp at the low low price of either 4 or 5 bucks, I can’t tell (as much as I love Bandcamp and everything it stands for, am I the only one that sometimes finds the page layouts confusing? Am I just old?)