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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Home Recording Project
Home Recordings
File 13 Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


October 12, 2006
Sometimes indie rock doesn't have to be ironic to get its point across. Home Recording Project (HRP) is a collective that - is it possible? - does as their band name implies when composing and recording music from its home studio setting. The band's debut album, aptly named Home Recordings, is a collection of eight of these home-brewed slow churners.

Further unlike most underground "indie" rock groups these days, HRP is subtle and creative when it is necessary but not pressured at any time to meet with musical conventions. Right off the bat, each of the tracks has an assigned number, ranging from 10 through 17. Keeping with the theme of simplicity I'm guessing that they are numerically arranged as the band wrote them, although the sequence is shifted from any numerical order.

HRP is a free musical venture. The four- and-sometimes-more piece is able to cultivate their own unique, personal, organic, and finely tuned sound because they aren't pressured to be buzz-worthy, nor are they under the gun to finish recording on deadline, nor to name their song cutely ironic names, nor to name their band after some inside joke that we are aren't cool enough to get. Here's to non-convention.

Granted, Home Recordings is not for the rock 'n' roll masses. Even some indie rock folks will have a hard time getting into this one. It's a collection of sounds that range from being haunting to artsy, but most always unique and dark. Brought to mind when listening to HRP's debut release is the melancholic essence of bands such as The For Carnation and Sigur Ros, and the discomforted vocal style - both in aural and lyrical extensions - of Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart.

The lead track ("13") is most exemplary of the many aforementioned comparisons and descriptive details while also being one of HRP's best tracks. It starts with what sounds like an eerie tuning between chords on an open harmonium and cello string. Soon an acoustic guitar joins, plucking a series of quick notes and then sweeping them away with a more loudly strummed chord at the end of the brief phrase. As the guitar careens from single notes to accented chord, both harmonium and cello weave in and out of each other with additional notes and harmonies that mostly come out as discordant but well suited. When the trio of sounds has fully built up, lead singer/guitarist Nathan Cowing winces forth his fatigued siren's voice with lyrics that are difficult to discern but feature literary gems like "Bray-zil" (for Brazil) and "Pay-ru" (for Peru). "13" also references blacks, women, Mexicans, and Jews instructing, "Take the money, take the country…" But the album is without a lyric sheet, so you can't tell if this is a political/social commentary or what. Either way, I'm intrigued as to the real meaning of many of these lyrics.

Although the words are obviously important, Cowing and HRP rely on subtle acoustic sounds, minimalist instrumentation, and a harmony of melodies/hooks and ideas to create a complete album and overall entrancing musical atmosphere. It's a shame too, because if they played by the indie/pop rules, their ingenuity would probably boost them to "status: blogger darlings." Then again, without their deep-seated, eccentric style, they'd sound just like everybody else. I think they're better off this way.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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