Last time, I talked about Mirkwood Recordings, a Pittsburgh-based lo-fi record label that I only recently discovered. They have quite a few releases, and they are putting out more and more this year. Grace, by Dunlap Broadsides, just came out yesterday. Let's talk about it.
I was fairly sure that I would like this album based on the cover. They say not to judge things solely based on the packaging, but sometimes that can tell you a lot about a product, the intended audience and the creator's own aesthetics. There was a point in my life when I would buy CDs at Eide's from their clearance bin without listening to the musick, just looking at the artwork. This happened because I found some great stuff like that before, the previously, in older posts, mentioned Blue Velvet. Later I ended up with some thrash metal junk and some other cool IDM and hardcore stuff. This is kind of like that.
Grace has some great sounds, the kinds you might hear speeding through Neo-Tokyo at night but a little warped. There are weird warbling tweets, tremolo'd tones, and gravely synths within the neon atmospheric glow. I've been watching a lot of anime lately if you are curious. Most of the tracks are more upbeat, but there are some creepy songs like "It's Not Murder If It's Passion", with it's breathy vocals. Some of my favorite tracks are "Mental Surveillance" and "Sneaky Bastard". "No Deal" would go along well in a futuristic noir story with its creeping buildup and sirens. "Did You Forget?" has some nice X-Files synths hanging down from the lofty, crisp air of the autumn night. The production on the whole album is nice and clear, though some of the instruments have an "up-and-down" volume thing going on (you could probably just say tremolo, but that makes me think of Davie Allen and other surf-rocker heroes). The drums are too loud for me on "Swan", a track that I am not very fond of. The last song, "Sinister Solution" is my least favorite track; I don't like the auto-tuned vocals at all, and they have a kind of soft-rock cadence.
While Grace isn't something that I would usually listen to, I did enjoy the album a lot. Not everything is perfect, and I really don't like some of the production. However, I would still say this is a Good album. I like the mood and atmosphere of the tracks, the neon glow of the cyberpunk future that is nearly here. Unfortunately, there is less neon in Pittsburgh than in Tokyo, so this will do.