Small Wonders #8

The Saturday Nights – Rabid Wolves/System of Control 7″
Self released (www.myspace.com/saturdaynights)
The Saturday Nights are a power pop band from Chicago. Both sides of this 7″, “Rabid Wolves” and “System of Control” remind me of classic stuff like Big Star or early Posies material. This is not really my cup of tea but they managed to hold my attention anyway. It sounds like something that would’ve fit comfortably on one of those Parasol Records Sweet 16 comps sitting next to something like Neilson Hubbard or Shalini. Sugary sweet vocal harmonies on clear blue vinyl.

Yellow Swans – Drowner Yellow Swans c62
Tape Room
New tour only tape from Yellow Swans on John Wiese’s new label Tape Room. If you’ve picked up their new At All Ends full-length on Load you’ll have some idea of where they’re going. It seems like they’re removing themselves from the more beat-oriented proto-industrial style of Psychic Secession. This is more in line with something like Geoff Mullen, Phillip Jeck, or Machinefabriek even. Billowy clouds of distortion piled into layer upon layer. Probably limited as hell. Make sure to check them out on tour right now as the material I saw them play was fairly close in texture to what’s on this tape. They’re getting better and better. The proof is here.

Tim Coster – Holding Plants CD-R
Rural Faune (www.ruralfaune.co.nr)
Some of you might remember my review of Tim Coster’s Rowboat/Blackberry 3″ CD-R from Small Wonders #3. He’s definitely been doing some interesting work and it’s obvious from the get-go on Holding Plants that this time there are some field recordings involved. A little over a minute into single 20 minute track he introduces a twilight drone that continues until the end of the piece. This is definitely closer to the material on his Landing record than that other CD-R. I want to say that it sounds like something that would come out of the Jewelled Antler Collective if they were more into the quiet/minimal electro-acoustic stuff than battery generated forest folk. This isn’t bad by any means but it really isn’t all that engaging either.

Octis – Social Club No. 6 7″
Social Registry (www.thesocialregistry.com)
Another of Mick Barr’s solo guitar excursions, this time under the moniker Octis. This reminds me of a whittled down version of his band Orthrelm’s Ov album minus the roto-tom workout. I must admit that I’m not a huge Mick Barr fan either, in fact I pretty much abhor some of his work. This is actually much better than it has any right to be, and like the aforementioned Orthrelm album it is one of the exceptions to the general malaise I feel when listening to something like his Ocrilim project. Two thumbs way up.