Monday, September 3, 2012

Cassette Review: Vehicle Blues vs. Shivering Window

Split releases can be a tricky thing to pull off. The release can be soon as discardable, or the bands' sound and ascetic don't synch up right, throwing the whole release off. Thankfully, Juniper Tree Songs manages to bypass all of this with their newest cassette, a split between one man projects Vehicle Blues and Shivering Windows.

Vehicle Blues (AKA Gabe Holcombe) picks up right from when I last heard him; on those great Bridgetown Records EPs that came out way back in 2010. His guitar playing has gotten more confident, pushing the songs from hazy, post-shoegaze territory to hazy, lo-fi indie rock territory. His songs are still just as effortlessly inviting as ever, murk and distortion never sounding this warm. At the same time Vehicle Blues' songs still maintain their Gothic edge, capturing a darker, or at least dower view of their world. See a track like "Sprayed Our Names at Every Station", about trying to leave one's mark on a world this While this contradiction should not work, the band's ability to despite of it is what makes the music so captivating.

Shivering Window's (AKA Matthew Gray) proofs that his debut cassette was no fluke. Here, he branches out, not content sticking to just the lo-fi guitar banging of Inner-Exo. "Little Skulls" sets the tone right a way, a short atmospheric creeper built on nothing but Gray's voice and a sparse drum machine. "Old Scratched Youth" is as close as Shivering Window comes to their old sound with Gray crafting another great, sparse, and dark static filled guitar banger. "Ash on You" on the other hand brings an immediate melancholy feel to it, with the fuzz cranked down and drum machine absent. In turn it might be Shivering Window's best song to date. The band ends their side with a smirk in the form of a final, quick instrumental named "Inner-Exo".

Juniper Tree Songs have produced another quality tape with this split. It's tiny and concise, but still manages to impart the sense of gloom both bands channel. In fact, the tape works so well due to the duality by which both bands are able to channel that emotion, and how that turns out differently. It's a moody, quality l0-fi cassette, and proof of how that genre can produce small treasures.


Vehicle Blues' Facebook

Shivering Window's Soundcloud
Buy the cassette here, from Juniper Tree Songs

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