Know Your Product
Roomrunner: Self-titled EP
Denny Bowen starts a post-Double Dagger career early
Published: December 21, 2011
Tip o’ the hat to Denny Bowen for being first out of the gate for post-Double Dagger projects. And double tip o’ the hat to said project, Roomrunner, for assuaging any fears of a Double Dagger version of the Seinfeld curse. Roomrunner’s great and, vitally, way different than Bowen’s generally beloved earlier band, a viciously to-the-point take on dirty, heyday indie-rock. Or you could just call it grunge—like, the kind of grunge that died and not the sort that bands generally make in the year 2011.
In Roomrunner’s own words, imagine “Foo Fighters covering U.S. Maple.” Which is fine, but maybe leads one into thinking a little too much that Roomrunner’s a retro exercise, when Bowen and company seem not quite self-aware enough to produce that either. (Current band or no, Foo Fighters should remain purely in history, by the by.) That said, it’s one of the rare cassette releases that comes this way that doesn’t feel a bit Hey, look at me, I’m a cassette tape. That’s worth something, right? This is the kind of sloppy, unwashed awesome that feels just right on a tape.
The other part of that not feeling especially retro is the not sounding especially like anything all that specific. The spirits of a lot of bands are in here, but if it sounds close to anything it’d be, like, Nirvana, Chavez, or maybe some of the chunkier songs on Sonic Youth’s Washing Machine. Which is still pretty vague and probably a stretch. “Upside Down” kicks off with a bit of SY squall before birthing just a nasty earworm of a song—an ugly and kind of perfect hook package of, yeah, pretty chunky guitar riffs and a simple chorus feeling together like prisoners are stamping it into your brain. But “Spinning” really gets at the heart of the thing: feedback-laced guitar lashes plus a great grunge-y, scream-y chorus to soothe teenage souls. Right here is one of the best new bands in the city.
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