Bored Fortress Split 7” (Not Not Fun)

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The second installment in Not Not Fun’s new run of their single series, Bored Fortress, is a match made in heaven for this writer (as well as a few others I’m sure). I’m almost endlessly fond of many of the releases of both Wet Hair and Peaking Lights, they share a similar watery, dubby aesthetic without sounding like twins, they come from two of the Midwest’s finest college towns ( Iowa City and Madison respectively) and all four people involved are also super sweet. (Yeah, full disclosure, I like these three dudes and the dudette quite a bit.)

Wet Hair occupies the A-side with “Blessed,” which is, despite some prior hyperbole on my part, and in other blogs or papers, the duo’s first straight up jam! “Blessed” is a blissed-out, spaced-out hunk of dubby goodness. Ryan Garbes’ drum work is kicky, frenetic and full of cool, sharp fills all lifted by splashy cymbal work. The core of the song, coupled with Garbes’ kit work, is a krauty bit of synth, sounding like a sped up loop of a church organ. It’s playful and bouncy and a perfect palette for winding, tumbling, soaring keyboard acrobatics and Shawn Reed’s caterwauling.
“Blessed” appears to be the new direction for Wet Hair, which has swelled to a trio with Matt Fenner on bass and a third (why not?) keyboard. I caught the new incarnation of the group at Empty Bottle in Chicago a few weeks ago, and the dubby, summery, experimentation of “Blessed” would have been (or since I hadn’t heard it by that time, it may well have been) right at home in the set. One can only assume based on “Blessed” and the new, funky muscles Wet Hair has been flexing, that this trio has a lot more reggae-infused fun to unleash over the course of their next few releases (look for a split with Australia’s Naked on the Vague any day now).
Peaking Light’s B-side, “Birds of Paradise,” feels, appropriately, like the other side of “Blessed”‘s coin. It too has nice beat, this time built on a rubbery, squishy bass synth line and metallic snare slaps, but feels a bit like the chill-out tent to Wet Hair’s rave. “Birds of Paradise” is a showcase for the flinty, haunting chants and coos of Indra Dunis. The track also shows some production maturity, all of Dunis’ vocal melodies are doubled and tripled by Aaron Coyes’ slinky guitar work and at least one wheezy synth. This duo is also loving some more “commercial” sounding beats. Peaking Lights have been embracing near truck-bumping beats at their most recent shows and early reports on their upcoming 12” EP from Night-People is that, for a DIY basement duo, it’s a club banger. Hope I’m not the only one looking forward to some serious bump ‘n’ grind at the next house show I attend.

There are still subscriptions remaining for the Bored Fortress series on Not Not Fun’s website. For $45 bones you get six 7″ pressings from the likes of The Savage Young Taterbug, Robedoor, Ducktails, No Age, and others. It’s a pretty sweet deal actually.
If you can’t quite swing the $45 right now, Raven Sings the Blues is hosting an mp3 of Wet Hair’s amazing A-side here, if you wanna cop a sample of this lil’ platter. Hoping to get a FTP client up and running for Corn-Fed Critic soon, until then, you’ll have to make due with other’s generosity.

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