A Boy Called Thor – Six New Ways to Hold Your Girl While Dancing Split 7″

A Boy Called Thor
Six New Ways to Hold Your Girl While Dancing Split 7"

I love Unread Records. This tiny Nebraska record label has some of the best releases you’ve never heard. Why have you never heard them? Because almost all are very lo-fi, are only on vinyl or tape, and most are limited to just a few hundred copies. Few other labels would release such a wonderful split 7″ as this, composed of Park, who comfort you with quieter bedroom rock, and A Boy Called Thor, who get you dancing around your bedroom with fun poppy keyboard beats. But the key here is the bedroom, where this album is best listened to and enjoyed.

Park starts off with the very comforting “Scout.” The double vocals give this song its unique feel, as electric guitars plug away quietly and some keyboards (with a very soft drum machine) fill in the background, giving the song something of a more urgent Elliot Smith song feel in a way. “Like She’s Addicted to Pathos” is much more simply produced. Guitar and keyboard come under the vocals, and percussion is supplied by banging a can and what sounds like a book, but it actually works. If you want lo-fi, this is a prime example of how well it can work. “With Rusy Wires” closes Park’s side with something like rusty wires: a blare of building keyboard noise that sounds somehow harmonic.

A Boy Called Thor start off quiet and simple too, with “The Bear and the Bee” being basically a talented singer and an acoustic guitar playing more up-beat. The keyboards kick in and have a more restrained, more piano-like. “Dance Party USA” sounds like it could have been played at a 50’s dance. With those simple drums and those crooning vocals – echoed just enough – that make the girls swoon, the song is a subtle little up-beat number. You can dance if you know the moves. I love the way samples can blend with simple pop music, and A Boy Called Thor does that here, with samples filling the background to a short instrumental guitar line. Nice and simple and catchy regardless.

Limted to 500 copies with handmade, watercolored copies, Unread shows why indie music is so absolutely wonderful. So much care went into these songs, both by the label and the musicians. And yet you don’t get a single throw-away, other than the noisy finish to Park’s side. The songs are fun and catchy, and while they’re not breaking new ground, the musicians are talented enough and have enough of a unique approach to feel fresh. Another wonderful Unread release.