Words About Music
Last month, I began a new feature called “Track Reviews” where I reviewed new songs from new artists. Well, this segment is something sort of like that. Except it’s with EPs! It’ll be a couple weeks before any of my anticipated albums are released, so for now I’ll be reviewing some new EPs, specifically EPs release through my friend’s Little League Records label. First up we have a review of Spider Mansion’s latest “Twenty And Thirteen,” followed by Thurn & Taxis’ “EP1.”
Spider Mansion “Twenty And Thirteen”
Emo. You know it. You’ve read my opinion on it. You love it or you hate it. And you know I appreciate, love, and have a ton of respect for the genre. The Internet has allowed the emo scene to escalate to new heights and reach new levels of underground popularity, as I’ve discussed a couple times before on this website. So, I’ll cut the back story and introduce Spider Mansion, a solo project founded by a kid whose name I am pretty sure is Sam. I don’t know how old he is, and I don’t really know his story, but I do know that his second EP “Twenty And Thirteen” is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and truly moving 4-track that tells tales of love, loss, and growing up in the Midwest.
Sam plays guitar, piano, and drums on this EP, and his singing ranges from clean and sad to angry and loud, and it all sounds just brilliant in a lo-fi setting. The lyrics are incredibly well written and the songs are performed by an obviously talented being. While Spider Mansion is known for his song covers that he posts almost daily on his Facebook page, he is also incredibly knowledgeable of the emo scene and knows how to make music that reflects that knowledge without sounding too much like anything else out there.
Complete with two samples (one sounds like a 50s theme song or commercial jingle and the other is a weather report on “one of the coldest Memorial Days in history”) and thought-provoking lyricism, “Twenty And Thirteen” is a must-listen. But be careful, it’s very sad and at times can be difficult to listen to if any of the lyrical themes hit close to home.
SCORE – 9.1
Thurn & Taxis “EP1”
Thurn & Taxis (pronounced Tərn and Tak-siss) is a Brooklyn-based math-rock/post-metal trio that fuse repetitive, mind-altering riffs with melodic builds and climaxes. I’m sure you’re thinking something along the lines of “RUSSIAN CIRCLES RIP-OFF BAND ALERT,” but let me assure, there are definitely differences between Thurn & Taxis and other post-metal bands like Isis, Russian Circles, and Pelican. The aesthetic is more or less the same in that they perform a heavier, more atmospheric version of what groups like Explosions in the Sky play, but Thurn & Taxis take these principles and play them in the recording quality of some of Minor Threat’s songs, making a fascinating and almost ironic contrast.
Think about it, when you think post-metal or really any sort of heavy metal, you think big, bombastic production that’s fun to listen to with big headphones in a dark room. But the recording quality of these four songs is what separates Thurn & Taxis from an instrumental Metallica song. It sounds small, but it’s one of the most significant things about this EP and this band, and I only hope it’s a recurring theme for this group.
Thurn & Taxis successfully avoid being lumped into a sub-category of heavy metal that can be so easily ridiculed for its refusal to change, and they do so all while making some beautiful and heavy tunes together.
SCORE – 8.1
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