Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016 Year-End Mini Catch-Up Review: Giant Peach, Tarantula

Album Review

There were lots of albums and EPs that I'd planned on mentioning throughout the year but never got around to for one reason or another. Whether it was just laziness or my tendency to put things off, I'm not sure. There's also this feature (bug?) of the music blogverse where we tend to forget about things once they've been out for a few months, and I don't want to be one of those people. So... I'm going to try and do smaller, quick-take reviews of some of the stuff I really enjoyed this year.

I'm not quite sure how I found out about Giant Peach. It was, most likely, via a post from Don Giovanni when Tarantula came out back in January. Solo artists Frances Chang and Mike Naideau came together in 2008, bringing with them what they saw as their disparate musical tastes. They expanded to a quartet with Dave Shotwell on drums and Luke Holstein on bass.

I'm not sure how different Chang and Naideau were when they started out, but their sounds either mesh really well together or the pair found a way to make things work. Tarantula is a fuzzy, guitar-heavy, noisy collection of songs that, more than once, had me thinking back to some of my favorite bands. On opener "your blood" and mid-album track "invisible ceiling," Naideau's vocals are low in the mix and carry the hint of a nasal twang similar to J Mascis. Chang is more out front on songs like "deserted" and "spike." Those songs display a little bit more of a direct pop sensibility, but everything on Tarantula achieves that combination of noise and songcraft that I always love so much.

Tarantula is an album that I spent a bunch of time with early this year, and I'm glad I've re-discovered it. It's out now on Don Giovanni Records / Shitty Present Records.

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