Silver Shampoo
“Jethro Skull”
What’s Your Rupture?

Texas’ Silver Shampoo turns in my favorite single of the week—maybe the month—if only because I’m a sucker for anything that gets close to the Lynnfield Pioneers or long lamented Columbus group Tree of Snakes. A kindred spirit more recent would be Wounded Lion, as “Jethro Skull” is a similar strain of cutesy, simple, anyone-and-their-brother-could-do-it rambunctious rock. Even given the amateur juvenilia of songs like “Dogs” (complete with whistles) and “Contest” (complete with bells), the title track manages to send a wink and a nod towards the highest rung of the Messthetics spectrum, pedaling at half-speed on the same Desperate Bicycles and Television Personalities relics most of us salivate over owning. Silver Shampoo might not stand that test of time, but for now if you’re looking for pinheaded goofiness cut with witty charm, it’s safe to put down your Nodzzz records.

Real Estate
“Fake Blues”

Don’t try and deny that magical feeling felt when first hearing the Shins. There were goosebumps on the skin and love in air, a light breeze from the West carrying with it effortless tunes of nostalgia and grace. It’s extremely hard to get worked up for that band these days, but that moment, however fleeting, happened. That’s a feeling felt when encountering “Fake Blues,” the A-side on Real Estate’s debut 7-inch for Woodsist. The New Jersey band certainly isn’t as precious or vulnerable, but the calming mood is hard to escape. Being on Woodsist is fitting as here they somewhat resemble Woods’ chilled little brother. It’s “Pool Swimmers” though, on the B-side, which is the absolute winner and reminds me distinctly of the indie whispers once broadcast by bands like Ladybug Transistor, Kingsbury Manx, and my earliest recollections of the Sea and Cake. Borrowing drums from Hall and Oates, entangling intricate guitar lines in thin-air and carefully accentuating feather-light lyrics in the midst, the song is the folksy mirror of alter-ego Ducktails (reviewed here recently) and those two parallels are equally mesmerizing. Real Estate have made it evident on a previously released CD-R that they can stretch this soft-pop over an entire record, so I’m anxious to hear how they’ll do so all over again for Woodsist.

Electric Bunnies/Pink Reason
Die Stasi

Bliss. I’m not sure where to stand here. On one hand I’m a bit miffed eagerly awaiting full-length LPs from both of these artists, but on the other, as unpredictable as the Electric Bunnies and Pink Reason are, I’m satiated enough with this quick hit. A-sides abound here, as you won’t go wrong flipping it like a coin and choosing at random. So let’s start with Pink Reason’s incendiary half. Kevin Failure might take any comparisons to Jay Reatard as a back-handed slap, but rest assured Failure is becoming the better man here. Like Reatard’s songs, “Hey Girl” is dialed into sharp-edged, blitzkrieg, pop. In fact the song is the most pop moment in the Pink Reason oeuvre. “Hey Girl” buzzes and bounces along in Kiwi-organist glee, always slightly oft-center. It’s surely an anthem of desperation and egging on the heartbreak, but the guy’s never sounded happier. I always seem to get it wrong when it comes to pinpointing where and when the Failure songbook gets lit, but I’m going out on a limb to assume “Watching You Fall” is glazed with the city, unwashed of the inch of grime that covers one after a long night out. “Watching You Fall” channels Jim Shepard with his guitar slung low and his head hung down, awash in white noise, clouded in pot smoke, with the sun shining through and nowhere in the one-room apartment to hide from the glare. It might be the anti–“Hey Girl,” but there’s downer melody in there all same. I used to think “Down on Me” was the jam. I guess I was wrong.

If Pink Reason’s the up-all-night side, the Electric Bunnies begin with the morning after. “Colorful Teardrops” is the lullaby written at 6:00 to slowly rustle awake the passed out revelers, plunked out on a Casio and whittled away on a detuned guitar in a morphine daze. Were this bulked up into full-band format it could crush the Black Lips without notice. Not that I wish this reworking upon the song; it began as a lazy creation and it shall end that way. Luckily there’s “Rest Your Head On a Cloud While Flower Petals Sprinkle From the Heaven,” a crash and bash, scum-pogo injection that is finished before you can read the song title aloud. Yo kids, where’s the album? I’d bet they could make a fantastic Tarkus.
Kevin J. Elliott