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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mark's Pick of Week: Jinx by Weekend

Sometimes ambient music seems to sit on its laurels.  If they managed to make themselves sound like they’re 20 miles away from the listener then they’ve done their job.  They mistake the listener’s detachment (or in some extreme cases boredom) as some sort of contentment.  Really, really great lo-fi music sounds like a secret.  It gets right up in your face and whispers and you’re just compelled to sit there and listen.  You might not be moving, but on the inside you’re shaking.  It’s invigorating.  So really good lo-fi is sometimes hard to find, but it’s certainly worth looking for.
            San Francisco based lo-fi band Weekend (not to be confused with Canadian producer The Weekend) Exploded onto the seen in 2010 with their fantastic release “Sports.”  It was a great mix of fuzzy, loud, post-punk that anyone who likes Joy Division, Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine could take to right away.  Since then they have been a bit light on their releases choosing to tour heavily and only releasing a 5 track EP “Red.”  A few days ago that all changed with the release of “Jinx.”  Despite the title of the LP these guys managed to make an album that was both on par with their first release, and a step forward in songwriting. 
Instead of just doing “Sports 2.0” these guys managed to move forward in their sound.  Like the album cover suggests they keep the bones, but striped away a lot of the flesh leaving something smooth and dark, but still leaving it just as sinister.  They also brought on a new bassist whose presence is definitely felt on some of the tracks.  Also, while the last album was blown out past the point of recognition, this album steps out from behind the veil a bit.  This allows the songs to feel even more intimate now that you don’t have to strain to hear what they’re singing about.  Speaking of singing, the lyrics of this album feel more involved then the first taking the actual song out of the background of the noise and giving the listener something to hold onto.
            This album does have a few problems with it.  Some of the tracks ease on the gas a bit, and seem to putter on a minute or two longer then necessary while others seem to be missing parts.  However, it is certainly a step in the right direction, and sends the message that these guys aren’t interested in being a one-album band.  “Sports” was a great shot, but “Jinx” burns with the intensity of a band that isn’t done growing, finding its sound, or making good music.  If this is the weaker of their two albums then that is certainly more of a compliment then an insult.  I’d definitely recommend them to anyone who has ever been to a concert where gazing at your shoes was encouraged.  You can order the LP from Slumberland Records or check out their facebook.

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