THE BEGINNING

7 inches by The Fresh & Onlys, Marshall Teller, TEETH, Avi Buffalo and Crystal Castles.

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Split 7”
Colours / Dignan Porch / Cheatahs / Not Cool
[Marshall Teller]

Marshall Teller is a new imprint and this 4-way split is their very first release. It features four no-fi bands that we’ve quickly come to expect good things from, and a solid collection of snappy, hazy tracks it is.

As its double-exposed, desert sleeve suggests, this is a release that owes a lot to nostalgia, analogue ways and lost summers, making its release perfectly timed.

It’s Cheatahs (aka Nathan Ernest Hewitt) who most overtly sings about the season of light evenings and “shooting hoops as it gets dark”, on ‘Froshed’. His acoustic guitar gently buzzes like an electric fan slicing through the thick air while his detached vocals wither under the heat, hypnotically.

Colours have a similar floaty thing going on on ‘Kick This’, but it’s a different kind of flight – while Cheatahs calmly bobs along, the Dalston four-piece soar into the horizon to the sound of their best song yet, which still takes it’s reverberating lead from No Age, but when is that ever going to be a bad thing?

Before Dignan Porch cool things down once again with ‘Surge’ (a sub-two-minute track that sounds like Empire Of The Sun on a couple of acoustic guitars), Not Cool are the prickliest customers here, presenting ‘Way South, South East’, with its acute riffs and post-(art)school angst. It sounds like a good summer already.

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Avi Buffalo
Truth Sets In
[Sub Pop]

The line between hormonal, amateurish garage and doe-eyed, too-naïve-to-be-embarrassed-right-now folk has been wibbly and blurred since Dylan went electric. With Avi Buffalo – a one-man teenage project-come-quartet from California – it’s smudged further as pinched harmonics dance over the sweet his and her vocals of Avi himself and keyboardist Rebecca Coleman. As vile as it is, ‘lush’ sums up ‘Truth Sets In’ perfectly – a track that sounds like that of a hopeful Elliott Smith sloshing around the summer with pals, due to Aaron Embry’s production and Avi’s ear for hormonal, joyous melodies.

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Crystal Castles
Baptism
[Polydor]

When Crystal Castles released their second self-titled album in May we gave it 4/10, which may not be as bad a fence-straddler 5, but it’s far worse than 3, which means you’ve at least narked a few people with your new, difficult offspring. ‘Baptism’ was pretty much what scored all of those four points, and it could have been more if the rest of the record wasn’t so uninspired. From its stuttering trance synths, through its popcorn pips, to Alice Glasses banshee cries, it’s brilliantly aggressive brat pop for any club worth wasting your time in. Forget the album – buy this and play it ten times over.

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TEETH
See Spaces
[Moshi Moshi

Bands that ravey trio Teeth have shown up on tour include New Young Pony Club and – far more impressively – Crystal Antlers. Live they do it with singer Veronica shouting, drummer Simon being very unforgiving to a half electronic, skeletal kit, and programmer Ximon snaking his hips while holding a MacBook. On this first release they’re a lot more subdued, and carry with them a synth hook that you’ll no doubt presume is sampled, either from the Royal Philharmonic or maybe The Verve. It’s euphoric stuff for what is also an angelic electro pop song. And if it winds up being their ‘hit’, it’s way better than ‘Ice Cream’.

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The Fresh & Onlys
Impending Doom /Troubling Vision
[Agitated]

If The Fresh & Onlys have passed you by, swept along in the melee of US garage bands, it doesn’t take too much chasing to see that these San Franciscans are more than purveyors of rickety guitar fuzz. Tracks like ‘Grey-Eyed Girl’ may have us believe otherwise but as ‘Impending Doom’ tells it – over four and a half minutes – this quartet are as keen to ‘go-psych’ as the many other Bay Area-dwellers. It’s a speedy wigout, played too fast and telling of how the band take on tired formulas with often unnoticed originality. So, naturally, ‘Troubling Vision’ is ‘Pretty Woman’ sung by the hippest church group ever.

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Originally published in issue 20 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. July 2010

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