Songs From an Attic

Songs From an Attic

Various Artists

Keyhole

This has been sitting on my desk for a year. Various artist releases are difficult to listen to unless I take the time to go through all my records and make my own mix tape. Various artist releases are either a bunch of songs by your favorite bands that shouldn’t have seen the light of day or a bunch of songs by bands you have never heard that shouldn’t have seen the light of day. Keyhole tries something different here. Three artists. Three songs per artist. This makes it less likely that the songs will be some crappy songs that didn’t fit anywhere else. This arrangement forces the artist to make sure that their three songs make sense together. As a result, Songs From an Attic is like listening to a show in which each band only gets 10 minutes to play and 3 seconds between sets to set up their equipment.

Migala is first. Menacing words struggling with the English language are whispered over a feedback-drenched Spanish translation of Yo La Tengo. Greg Weeks wants to be Nick Drake, but he’s too happy and not prepared to die an early death. Still, it’s a beautiful effort, especially for fans of intricately finger picked acoustic guitar folk. Tinsel’s use of detuned guitar, monotone vocal delivery, and strange percussive interventions is a bit jarring after Greg Weeks, but it does tend to call attention to lyrics, which I’m assuming is the whole point. So, when what could be called the chorus appears as “I want to save water and a little bit of faith, so I’m pissing in your sink,” I grimace a bit. Most of Tinsel’s lyrics tend to be self-effacing to the point of discomfort, as if you might be reading the diary of a highly imaginative, manic depressive, lonely Creative Writing grad student.

Keyhole Records, 1115 W. Wayne St., Apt. 4, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

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