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Twatsnot’s first recordings, produced by Priests’ Katie Alice Greer and simply billed as demo, sound unpretentious and fresh. These five tracks add up to 15 minutes of fuzzy guitars and heavy bass lines, reminiscent of an angrier/meaner version of Elastica. “Bulleit is nice on ice,” sings Cherise (guitar, vocals), Celia (bass), and Victoria (drums) in unison, reminding us that good things happen when women join forces—and even better things occur if local musicians have access to affordable rent and free practice spaces.
RIYL: The perfect soundtrack for biking from Takoma Park to Lyman’s for Pinball League.
Too Free, “ATM”Sister Polygon Records
“I wanna be seen by you,” Awad Bilal suggestively sings in Too Free’s debut track, “ATM.” With a luscious vocal tone and a piano line that could be taken from a Studio 54 hit in slow tempo, Too Free is the project of Bilal, Carson Cox, and recording and mixing engineer Don Godwin. Clocking in at a little over 4 minutes, “ATM” is a collage of sound that shows up to the party somewhere between a stoned Diana Ross, the rhythm section of Gary’s Gang, and the philosophical abandon of Antony Hegarty.
RIYL: Reading risky texts in bed before going out on Friday night.
Dura, Vivarium / SolariumAural Canyon
Blending “natural sounds, textures, and other vibrations”(!), Vivarium / Solarium is the latest offering from Dura—the ambient, low-listening project of experimental musician Mattson Ogg. A recorded version of two sets performed live at Takoma Park’s venue Rhizome during the summer of 2017, these two tracks are succinctly described by the artist as “conscious exercises.” Ogg says the intent was to “physically do as little as possible,” but he manages to craft long drone meditations that are rich and plentiful to the ears, inviting listeners to submerge into a musical construct that is nothing short of beautiful contemplation, if not divine.
RIYL: Blissfully spacing out.
Tristan Welch, 40 HoursVerses Records
Is there anything scarier than performing repetitive tasks everyday in exchange for an unlivable wage? The answer is probably “yes,” but few things catch the attention more than an artist openly and bluntly suggesting that we should “abolish work.” Tristan Welch’s fourth release, 40 Hours deals with the ups and downs of the daily grind and reads as a manifesto against working class struggles. While openly addressing a very tangible malaise, Welch manages to produce delicate tunes—one for each day of the work week—capturing shifting moods with minimal, repetitive guitars. Adding uplifting saxophone harmonies, musician Ron Oshima shines on “Tuesday” and “Friday,” the latter track a memorable coda before the soul crushing reality of the track “Overtime.” Keeping the record’s ethos, the vinyl edition was designed by artist Monica Stroik and screen-printed by Welch, and all the record’s accompanying merchandise is sweatshop-free and union printed.
RIYL: Being aware that capitalism got you down.