Thursday, June 20, 2013

Make Do And Flatline

Rise Records curates an excellent four song split here.

You get two very distinct tastes, the first being Make Do And Mend's carefully collected emotion (think American Football and Hot Water Music) and The Flatliners close out the split wild, raucous and intrepid as punk ought to be. It's two songs by both bands, so this ought to last you a week. It'll be a great week, though.

"Don't" is another Make Do And Mend song. It's aggressive. It exists. But "Tell Me" is the scene stealer. "Tell Me" trembles. "Tell Me" has an ache like a tidal pull. It's one of my favorite songs of 2013 the instant I heard it. Think "Desert Lily," mixed with a smidge of "Coats," their song on Run For Cover's Mixed Signals compilation.

"Tell Me" centers around the chorus of "show me something life won't break / tell me something time can't take away." Yeah, it's dramatic, but like Make Do And Mend's best songs, it's earned with the lyrics "the end will draw you in, just like a moth against the wick" or "a hundred calling bells." "Tell Me" is earnest without being saccharine or using too much of cliche.
 The two Flatliners songs, by comparison are dexterous, fast and seem giddy on the possibility of what the band can do. There's a ridiculous (and ridiculously cool) guitar solo in "Caultron Girls" for the entire second minute of the song that sounds super Wilhelm Scream-y. Which is great. I love Wilhelm Scream. Said solo is one part fitting with the song, another part display of virtuosity, as if daring their friends to one up them.

The song appears to be about the young women who worked on the Manhattan Project without being told what they were working on, and if they spoke about what they did, rumor had it, they were killed. According to one participant, they watched numbers and moved dials, but weren't told why. This (and a cursory Google search) explains lyrics like "your life's a head game / when your job description is naivety."

"Daggers" first vocal is an almost doo-wop "ooooooooh." It's midtempo. Or, as close to mid-tempo as The Flats get. As mid-tempo as "This Respirator," I suppose. Hyperactive. Manic might be a better descriptor. Wait! It sounds like one of the good songs off of Dead To Me's African Elephants. Like someone fed The Flatliners horse tranquilizers and it didn't take.

As a fan of both bands, this represents some of their finest material to date and has me eagerly anticipating fuller portions, but hell, I'm an unwashed music nerd because these tiny portions sometimes contain incredible rewards. I hope they don't get reprinted in a year, by virtue of making the download or vinyl less valuable, but also, these songs being so good I view as the reward for paying attention.

And yes, they ought to be collected in an inevitable b-sides collection. Just in the future, okay? Not right now. Because right now, it's summer 2013 and while I don't have the coolest music or the most new music or the most groundbreaking music, it's new music from two very different bands who have hit their stride, but not yet their peak.

Alas, none of the full songs are on YouTube quite yet, but you can get a taste of the split below, which includes, luckily enough, 45 seconds of "Tell Me" and 45 seconds of "Caultron Girls."

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