Tabs Out | New Batch – Field Hymns

New Batch – Field Hymns
6.8.17 by Ryan Masteller

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Take a moment – look up from scraping the crud out of the intake manifold of your 1975 Dodge Coronet, wipe your brow, and look out at the world framed by your garage. What do you see? What’s out there for you? Observing the blue sky beyond the frame can fill you with hope, and in that hope a promise of new life. But what if you glance just a few feet to your left and notice the boombox you’ve got sitting there? Those two shiny new tapes, just removed from their shrinkwrap, beckon. The new Field Hymns batch is just a “press play” away, and you’re powerless to stop yourself. With fumes from the engine in your nostrils, you click the button, and your outlook as you know it is forever altered. Peep the grease. Pure unadulterated street gnar is your grim future, hot rod city and calamity away. Or maybe road glory. It’s all there for the taking. Before you know it, you’re so disoriented that you’ve spent three hours detailing a remarkably precise image of “Macho Man” Randy Savage (#RIP #NeverForget) on the passenger door. It’s like you’d seen it somewhere before, perhaps in a dream.

Lips and Ribs’ “Males In Harmony” is the Fela Kuti/post-punk mashup everybody this side of Jay Winebrenner of Portland, Oregon, wanted, but only Jay Winebrenner of Portland, Oregon, was able to deliver. Long a member of “bands” (like 31 Knots and Blesst Chest), Winebrenner forges his own MIDI-suites with virtuosic aplomb, coming off at times like Giant Claw and Talking Heads wrestling for supremacy in the aftermath of an aqueduct drag race ending in a tie. And yeah, Winebrenner, ONE MAN, sounds like a freaking BAND in the process. Previously released by Winebrenner’s own lonesome, MALES IN HARMONY is done right by Field Hymns, their ever-stellar curatorial job on the physical artifact a violently arousing success, middle-fingered cursor clicking on all the nastiest websites, and you look stupid for even trying anything after listening, because what are you gonna do, top MALES IN HARMONY? I don’t think so, ratchet monkey, get in the backseat and be quiet while this plays.

Slim Fortune is an actual band, full of actual wackos (including Mr. Winebrenner) with actual CVs that list things like Mattress, Modest Mouse, Get Hustle, and Chromatics on them. If there’s a darkness on the edge of town, you better believe that Slim Fortune is either the cause or at the center of it. Evil dive bar blues for dirty-fingernailed blue-collar headcases, ready for beer and fights and more beer. A reflection of the life of the bat-wielding, brass-knuckle-wearing, smashed-glass-brandishing outlaw. Slim Fortune – sounds of the night. But that’s only one half of a split, ol’ Slim’s self-titled side, and Sciencevision is on the other with COLORSHIFTER, the Neil deGrasse Tyson to Slim Fortune’s Buckaroo Banzai. Yeah, it might be a little nerdier, a little more inward-looking, but Sciencevision’s, erm, vision is no less intoxicating, and it might even be a darker, weirder, and more, dare I say, shoegazey? Well, the end of it is, as “Life Song/When Everything Adds Up” pretends it’s Brad Laner before disappearing in a puff of tone. The rest is candy-colored fuzz, billowing through speakers like a crystallized manifestation of the color palette of Neptune’s atmosphere as glimpsed from Voyager 2. Try to wrap your mind around that, or expel it from your lungs.

Where’d you go there, car person? Done staring out your garage? Shake the effects, call it a day. Time to buy another couple copies of these sweet tapes. Get em both now, they come in batches of a million (give or take)!

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