11.24.21 by Matty McPherson
“WE ARE LOCATED IN RURAL ILLINOIS WITH LIMITED ACCESS TO THE PO. WE SHIP ITEMS ONCE A WEEK” is about all the information you’re gonna find on the Manic Static website page regarding what their mission is or what they release. Bandcamp and other information is thin and I’m not being paid by the word (or at all) so end of sentence. That being said, the label’s decade plus of lo-fi punk and pop majesty speaks for itself. Early Lala Lala, Melkbelly, Control Top, Wednesday, and (of course noted stalwart) The Funs have all passed through and released proof-of-concept tapes that go above and beyond. Details on these releases may be sparse and the art is willfully abstracted that you might mistake it for death metal or death drone. Yet somehow, they have pushed each act towards a seat at second and first tier indies. Whatever is being cultivated, is clearly and inherently of note. By the heads and for the heads.
So, that brings us to today’s half hour of lo-fi punk with pop inclinings, The Sweats. It’s a 2020 album reissued by Manic Static back in March. It was made by a duo credited as Teevee (DH and WM are the only initials provided; although further research brings up Dylan Hyman & Woody Moore). It has enough strum n’ thrummery and K Records throwback to knock your socks off. The formula is genuinely simple: girl-group melodies, warm n’ fuzzy guitar and slight thumping drums (to prove no one is sleeping here), as well as an airing of grievances/listing of dailies. All in an uptempo, syncopated manner that recalls bits of the no-frills production of personal favorites Privacy Issues and Sweeping Promises (who’s 2020 crackerjack effort recently received a tape pressing). It’s here where the emphasis is placed on how minimal elements can really transcend a garage-type showspace into a full-blown vibe.
And while I’ve never been in a garage at the same time and place as Teevee, it brings me an immense amount of joy at how… familiar yet encompassing these tracks are. “Resolve” is a classic fuzz n’ buzz piece of guitar pop, with syncopated stops that suck all the air out of my ears. “Hologram” has all the sudden-left turns of classic Amps, running through a litany of melodies and tempos that steadily build to a crushing climax. “Pretty People” is all tantalizing guitar swirls recalling the punchdrunk pleasures of house parties AND county fair tilt-a-whirls! “Holidaze” sneaks in a carnivorous bass line to absorb darkness before cutting to black and Side B takes over. Over on that end, Teevee continue pulling out lo-fi nuggets like its tricks out of a bag. “No Good” dances with a phaser effect, while “Taste Blood” mumbles out the pains of existing past ex-friends and fantastical daydreams. And even Resolve returns to close things out, shedding its skin and making the cut as a droney minimal wave!
I know I said earlier I wasn’t being paid by the word (or at all) here, but I kinda need all the words I can to describe this duo because these tracks are totally analog and the Bandcamp page for it is MIA! But man do they know how to bring the heat!
An edition of 100 is up for grabs at Manic Static’s bigcartel page