RIYL: Teenage Fanclub, Jonny, Paul Westerberg

Label: Melters

Oh let me tell you a story.

It’s a wonderful story called the 1990’s.

When I was 13 I went to my first concert without parental supervision. Teenage Fanclub and that dog. both played.

The next day I went to the record shop and bought an import Paul Westerberg CD cause it had bonus tracks. It came from Japan and it had an Obi strip. I still have that Obi strip to this day. Obi strips are cool.

The first 50 copies of the new Smiles EP comes with a Risographed Obi Strips made by the crazy-talented illustrator, Josh Freydkis.

The real reason why I talked about the 90’s, and Teenage Fanclub and Paul Westerberg above is because that’s the sort of feeling that I get from this Smiles release. I’m whisked away to that early-middle 90’s guitar sound and I couldn’t love it more.

Priced at just $6, get on it!

The Details

Laugh now, cry later—welcome to San Francisco, 2016. Did you think you'd end up here, like this? Your favorite diner is closed for good. Your friends are getting evicted or electing to just leave. You ride your bike between two of your three jobs, and the same electric skateboard keeps cutting you off. Maybe your bike gets stolen, maybe you got dumped on top of that. You're not sure how to react. You notice that your people are oddly sensitive to even the most minor reproach, your people deflect seriousness and defer grief with a strange sense of humor. There's sad, then there's absurd. And then there's SMILES.

Of course this record continues the Melters cult of GERARD LOVE worship, but you can listen closely and catch some nods to PRIMAL SCREAM, the Paisley Underground or even ELLIOTT SMITH's later electric work. And as absurd as making guitar music may seem in this setting—are we fiddling while Rome burns?—there is a sense of awareness that keeps it out of the depths of self-pity. We like to think of SMILES’ Mani Chocano as a piper out of frame in one of those Danse Macabre renaissance paintings, spinning a sad song that is catchy enough to pull each estate into the breach. You might think that's a stretch; we'll see you at the bottom.

Price $6

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