Wednesday, August 13, 2008

lacketherof - your anchor

For the uninitiated, Lackthereof is a side-project from Danny Seim of Rose City's Menomena. Menomena one of those bands that are on my radar as being a 'Heath Band', those being bands that are from the, for lack of better nomenclature: "Pitchfork friendly" circuit. Not that I value Pitchfork much, save for their dancehall column, but compared to most people I know who recommend me stuff, Heath's putting up A-Rod numbers. I still don't remember having heard Menomena, but after listening to Your Anchor I'm going to try a little harder to make it happen.

Let's start with the knee-jerk stuff: with that Bedknobs and Broomsticks logo, the name lackthereof and a title like your anchor, was I so wrong to think I was about to hear the worst bed-wetting Deep Elm Emo Diaries cast-off band ever? I will argue to the contrary. Frankly, it was only the Barsuk name that put it any higher than it was on the ol' review pile. When I finally got around to throwing it on, I was a little bit shocked to hear something considerably more sophisticated than songs about acne and premature ejaculation.

Lackthereof is actually yet another of the bedroom-pop gems coming from the Northwestern music scene. That crew breeds Brian Wilson home recording types like wildfire and it seems that Seim is a card-carrying member of their ranks. As often happens with that set, the entirety of your anchor was recorded and mixed in the Seim basement. It's really a testament to how home recording is turning the recording industry upside down. I haven't seen any Mix magazine reviews of his space or anything, but you can bet it's no Electric Lady down there under the floorboards. Despite that, this record sounds amazing, especially on headphones.

Seim isn't new to this. He's been at this since '98, recording CD-Rs and passing them out to friends even before Menomena came to be. The project was primarily studio-bound but has become a little more active in recent years. I'm interested to see how (if) they pull it off live. your anchor has an odd 70s vibe to me, but that may be the AM radio ambience that permeates most of the tracks. There's a melody in the intro that cribbed from some 70s song and it's been driving me crazy for days as to what it's from. I'm going to argue J.D. Souther's Her Town Too, but don't hold me to it. For an assumably digital recording, there is a whole lot of warmth and clarity to your anchor. It suits the warm but not especially sunny music and shows Seim as a pretty talented engineer. If the drummer is this good of a songwriter, Heath may be on to something here. As labels today go, Barsuk's ears continue to be among the best out there. Looks like another good acquisition; with the right shine, Lackethereof could be their Postal Service.

The records been out since late last month. You can buy it here, or check out the links below.


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