Know Your Product
The Woolly Moon “And I’m Afraid”, Lower Dens “Batman”
Published: January 12, 2011
The Woolly Moon
“And I’m Afraid”
This track comes off the Woolly Moon’s just-out Ylayali full-length, which is a kind of uneven but still a plenty charming, rambling collection of new weird Americana. And if there’s a track on it that perfectly says “rambling,” this is it: five-plus minutes of fun, mostly instrumental psych-rock that wanders around for two minutes in slow and almost sultry organ and guitar, before literally restarting with a “two, three, four” out of the blue and picking up the tempo and tightening up. The remainder of the song rests on a red-hot guitar riff and this disorienting dualism between a chorus (just repetitions of the title) that’s awfully ragged and that kind of blemishes-and-all “Thanksgiving”/Microphones folk vocal. Like the record itself, “And I’m Afraid” could use some trimming/refining—which can be done without effing up the spirit of this kind of intentionally underdeveloped folk—but it’s still really listenable and satisfying.
For more information visit thewoollymoon.bandcamp.com.
Lower Dens’ first single since releasing last year’s universally adored Twin-Hand Movement has gotta be about the fastest and rockiest thing they’ve done. “Batman” boasts a quick uptempo drum beat, loping bass line, quick and nimble guitar work, and arpeggios you’d even call “fun” or lighthearted. Even so, it’s Lower Dens, and you’re still drawn to the airy spaces in between all that. And while it’d be really hard to point to an actual empty space, it’s the illusion of it that the band is so good at, turning what could be just another lo-fi rock song ethereal and gorgeous. Part of it is Jana Hunters’ voice, singing higher here and prettier but no less strange, and those guitars—crystal yet dusty shimmers without a single note wasted—turn the quick number into genuinely sublime rock. Also note: “Batman’s” b-side is an elegant, wonderful cover of Mayo Thompson’s “Dear Betty Baby.”
For more information visit lowerdens.com.