header: Reviews

Reviews for [RL81]
Abandoned Houses "Untitled Spirals"

  • Raised By Gypsies
    You know how you always see song titles and wonder ďIs that a cover of the song I know, or is it just a coincidence?Ē Iím pretty certain that Iíve detailed my opinion about it on several different occasions, and, alas, I will most likely continue to do so in the future as well. That being said, the first thing that stuck out to me about these five songs was the third track having the name ďWhatís My Age Again?Ē. Anyone who grew up in the age of Blink 182 (Well, I was in my later teens when Dude Ranch struck) would immediately make the connection, and yes, this is a solo acoustic sort of cover of that very song. If nothing else, some pop punk kids should stumble across this cover and then potentially be turned on to the rest of this album. In its simplest roots, Abandoned Houses is a singer/songwriter (Sorry whoever posted that article to Twitter, singer/songwriter is still a genre), bedroom, lo-fi type of sound. But what makes them (him) so much more than everyone else you hear is that Abandoned Houses isnít just a clever name, it is in fact a gimmick that this guy has taken on and I believe really embraced. Much like the first skateboarders (Watch a movie) would go around and skate in empty pools when no one was home, this guy goes around, finds empty houses (Presumably vacant, not houses where the residents are merely on vacation or at work for the afternoon) and records these songs there. If that isnít random and unique enough for you than I donít know what is because in many ways that very concept offers an entirely new level and story to each of these songs individually.

  • Half Gifts
    Delayed gratification may not seem like a term that anyone would associate with pleasure, but in the realm of music, especially lo-fi music, the two terms just might be synonymous. You'll listen to a tape for the first time in the car like I did this afternoon, and one or two verses, maybe a chorus, will really resonate with you. And the trouble is that afterward, you can't even remember how that line goes, or even if it exists at all. Songs seem to exist in ideal form in our minds. They may sound great as we listen but they are made perfect as we forget them. And on the way home from school today, this tape was perfect to me, and I keep coming back to it, searching for the sacred moment of warmth that overtook me while adrift in the passenger's seat. That constant search is what makes an album pleasurable, though. I enjoy prolonging sleep, preferring to spend as long as I can in the divide between consciousness and dreams before giving in to slumber. Similarly, it is in the struggle to find perfection in the music of others that I find the true enjoyment of an album. Each note and verse is scoured over, as if I were studying a text in another language, and like any true scholar, I begin to appreciate how the song's nuances comprise its whole. Anyhow, pretensions aside, this album is really great. I compare a lot of music to Lou Barlow's work, but Abandoned Houses' Untitled Houses sounds almost exactly like the acoustic b-sides available as bonus tracks on Sebadoh albums. Higher notes peel off of the fruit of constantly throbbing bass, and whispered vocals seem like an after thought. The lyrics are mantras supplemented by scattered thoughts, yet everything about the EP seems so complete. Things really fall together on track 3, a cover of Blink-182's "What's My Age Again?". I hadn't heard the original before, but the interplay between sparsity and intensity is perfectly executed as pluckings melt into chords.