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Listening Party

Baklavaa: Hairmoans

Kinda funky opening to perfect math-y, metalcore-y assaults like breaking bottles against a brick wall.

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As an American human, you’ve most likely felt almost exactly like this before: a bit cluttered with interference and interruptions, angry but the sort of naturalistic day-to-day weighty angry that has its own sort of momentum, the sense of jumping track to track to track with every track tilted a bit more downhill, an internal yelling feeling like pressure escaping an old steam engine. And in all that pressure and momentum, maybe there’s something pretty too, which foams up or congeals occasionally. And all of this is a bit particular to young adulthood maybe, but in musical form—such as here on Hairmoans and many other things in the more vintage strains of post-hardcore and screamo music—it still carries a lot of truth.

Baklavaa has been a band for at least a couple of years without releasing a record (this and an almost-the-same split record with Dee and the Warlocks) or making the somewhat typical big-local-band push; the 15 or so minutes of Hairmoans had actually been in process for a year and a half before its release. It’s the sort of music, though, in which time isn’t the best indicator of “length,” really. The whole thing comes across as packed as a double album, with closer “Marijuana Abuse” feeling like a whole record just in itself, from its swerving, almost/kinda funky opening to perfect math-y, metalcore-y assaults like breaking bottles against a brick wall. (Note that prejudices concerning heavy music being funky, math-anything, or metalcore are best dropped in reading that sentence.) Hairmoans isn’t a weird-weird record so much, despite the constant gear-shifting and sly intrusions of samples and weirdo guitar sounds. It’s more just really, really smart in the ways of visceral music, like the several seconds of break that come on the opening “Dial 888 Into the Mood Organ” that feel euphoric and good in a way heavy music rarely gets a chance to.

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