Excavacations – ‘Object Permanence’ [Review]

One of the most exciting Rock-like substances to crystallize in the autumn of Stunned Records was Excavacations, the pair of Nicholas Longworth and Chad Parsons (proprietors of The Offices of Moore & Moore), who with Warm Climate seemed poised to embed a truly-new form of guitar Rock music.  This CD compilation combines dubbings from their four previous cassettes, plus four new tracks – a wild pastiche-music inseparable from the Phil French collages which fit their earliest releases hand-in-glove, now morphed by his later camo-blob assemblage, emphasizing the reverse, or amorphous qualities of these scantily-bound sounds.  ‘Object Permanence,’ I just happened to learn today on an unrelated outing, is also the psychological concept that things exist even when we don’t sense them (that is, the conceptual quality of noumenon, which, oddly, I did know the meaning of); the title is fitting, perfect really, for such a delicate existence as the band has had, lying in tapes of feint circulation, now made impervious by curation.  In fine company on the label of Winter Drones – and for some specific qualities, Grouper, Mudboy, and Hexlove – these tracks are a sophisticated and singular mix of catchy hooks and poured-over effects, channeling at once the painfully-earnest, Midwest indie rock of Minus Story and Okkervil River (esp. “Sine 3”, “No County”, “Stalk the House”), and the rich ambience of PanAmerican, Zelienople, and/or Benoit Pioulard (…“Porter”, “Yonsish”, “Haru”); with equal-rights drumming and radio’d vocal tracks, they stroke my biases with a thousand young-San Diegan guitar lines (think A Day Called Zero, Swivelneck, or Chune).  Given the milieu of their once label-houses, these former qualities were always the ones to stand out in relief, though the heights – the true, dazzling heights of synthesis – come in the novel form of “Grape Ape Tobledrone” and “Silver Salver” – oompa bass, circular rhythm and searing lead melody, two-tone vocals – like a hundred feet down the path left untaken in the shaggy haste of first-generation Animal Collective and Raccoo-oo-oon; or in the case of “Gished”, the squandered vision of early Smashing Pumpkins toward a new Bop aesthetic.  CD in a digipak.  If it isn’t clear by now, highest recommendation.

Weird Forest CD

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