Tag Archives: settlers

[Review: Settlers, ‘Goth Dad’]

The catchiest and most fully rounded songs on Settlers’s first album Goth Dad—“Point Breeze,” “Cicada Summer,” and the title track—function in a similar fashion: a nifty picked melody works itself out against a background of driving drums and laves of reverb-heavy distortion. This Buffalo group’s songs don’t develop like classical music, repeat like minimalist compositions, or offer the thematic exploitation of pop music; instead, as in the case of “Cicada Summer,” the musical substance (all of which was captured via 4-track in the basement of the Jungle Gym, a house venue on Buffalo’s West Side) is thickened through instrumental addition, and–after it has achieved a surfeit of density–it is meditated upon. Subtraction, rhythmic spacing, or key change is used to free the listener from the nervous excitement induced in the tracks’ more tightly wound moments.

Vocals aren’t vocals in the sense of pronounced lyrical content, but rather like voices carried on breezes; over the course of their journey they’ve somewhat dissipated and it would appear that what the voices are saying is less important than how they’re saying it. On the latter count, there is more than a hint of longing, melancholy, and homesickness; nonetheless, it avoids becoming schmaltz through balance with the music’s ecstatic presentation.

The Los Angeles-based duo No Age provides an obvious comparison (though Goth Dad is closer to the fragmented punk blusters/ambient blossoms of Weirdo Rippers, than the lush pop of Nouns) not only in terms of technique but also in terms of quality of feeling. It’s probably no coincidence the band’s website features a video of a skater (slo-mo, summer day) as visual accompaniment to the songs. The whoosh, clank, and roll rhythm of skateboarding lends a real world similitude to the inner life depicted in Goth Dad.

The tunes, when not moving about frantically,

“. . . as in a wanton freak”,

engage the listener more patiently:

“. . . perhaps to show its black and golden wings

Pausing upon its yellow flutterings.”

As Keats interpreted the schizoid temperament of the goldfinch.

Attempting to decant the significance of the music’s movement into a proposition is a tricky business, but, taking a speculative leap, I’d say the driving emotional force of Settlers is found in the frenzied state of imposing oneself upon experience and taking in as much as possible, in order to make up for that which one is constantly pouring out.

Several tracks (“Sleepy Dan,” “Dirty Eyes,” and “Days Park”) never make it past the gnarly intention present at conception. “Doing Nothing,” another in this mode, may be the most aptly titled song on the album. Meanwhile, the album’s two heavier tracks (“White-Out” and “Dead Kids”) edge into that goth-surf-garage stuff you may remember hearing at the Mohawk Place circa 2000.

At times a somewhat unbalanced first set, but, like other promising first sets, Goth Dad offers an abundance of charm that makes up for any lack in execution.


Review by Shane Meyer

[Archive: Halloween Special]

1) Ric Royer and G. Lucas Crane, “Welcome to the Dark Cabinet,” Dark Cabinet of the Strange Weird (Ehse Records)
2) Air, “Suicide Underground,” The Virgin Suicides OST
3) Sone Institute, “Witchcraft and Pornography,” Model Life
4) Bobby BeauSoleil, “Lucifer Rising 2,” Lucifer Rising OST 
5) SInglogue, “The Cemetery”
6) Dan Deacon, “USA I: Is a Monster,” America (Domino)
7)Suicide, “Ghost Rider,”
8) Pacing, “I Believe in Jim Jones”
9) Aaron Dilloway, “Infinite Lucifer” (Hanson Records)
10) Settlers, “Goth Dad”
11) Zilmrah/Spreaders, “Mask Behind Mask Behind Mask,” Ghoul Poon Presents Do the Fright Thing vol. 4 (Lofi Kabuki Records)
12) Steven Severyn, “Shadow’s Play,” Vampyr (Cold Spring)
13) Muck, “Wrong Kind of Creep,” (Factotum Tapes)
14) Ric Royer and G. Lucas Crane, “Crystal Skull of Lemuria,” Dark Cabinet of the Strange Weird (Ehse Records)
15) Ghost Father, “KFW”
16) Charlemagne Palestine & Janek Scafer, “Fables from a Far Away Future,” Day of the Demons (Desire Path Recordings)
17) Mandala Channel, “Wrything”

[Archive 03.29.12]

Due to the host being a dipshit and forgetting to hit ‘record’ at the start of last night’s show, there is no archived version of last night’s show. Pity, because it was a good one. Kind of surprised this hasn’t happened before, actually. Anyway, you can still check out last night’s tracklist below.

1) Martin Freeman, “Beastin,” Beastin
2) All of them Witches, “Toyotal Recall,” Breathers vs. Drivers
3) Bear Flames, “Judas/Heavy Outro”
4) Velvet Elvis, “Pretty Girls in Lace,” No Rules in the Wasteland (cae-sur-a)
5) Tuurd, “I Wish My Wife Was This Dirty,” I Wish My Wife Was This Dirty (Carbon)
6) AIDS Wolf, “Very Friendly (Weasel Walter Remix)”
8) Dustin Wong, “Diagonally Talking Echo,” Dreams, Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads (Thrill Jockey)
9) Christian Marclay, Elliot Sharp, Vernon Reid, Melvin Gibbs, Lee Ranaldo, Mary Halverson “Graffitti Composition 2” Graffiti Composition
10) Deerhunter, “Weird Era,” Wierd Era Cont. (Kranky)
11) Odonis Odonis, “Ledged Up,” Hollandaze (Fat Cat)
12) Lotus Plaza, “Remember Our Days,” Lotus Plaza/Odonis Odonis Split 12″ (Fat Cat)
13) Settlers, “Sky Kings”
14) Women, “Untogether,” Public Strain (Jagjaguwar)
15) Grasshopper & The Crickets, “Sketches of Saturn,” The Orbit of Eternal Grace (Beggar’s Banquat)
16) Sonic Youth, “Anagram,” Perspective Musicales (SYR)
17) Off the International Radar, “Critical Mass,” OTIR 003 (Voof Records)
18) Location Ensemble, “Diversion # 3,” Live in Saratoga 11.12.11(Tape Drift)
19) Colin Stetson, “The End of Your Suffering,” Those Who Didn’t Run (Constellation)

[Preview 3.28.12: Loud Avant Rock-type Shit]

Albany's Location Ensemble

Looking over the potential playlist for tonight’s show and it seems like there is a lot of experimental rock-type stuff on it. At least stuff with guitars anyway. . .

Got some Location Ensemble, some Bear Flames, some All of Them Witches, some Velvet Elvis, some Bees////, some Odonis Odonis, some Martin Freeman, some AIDS Wolf, some Bird Day….maybe some Settlers and Yoma as well.

Toronto's Odonis Odonis

And that’s just the regional stuff….

Probably get to some Krautrock and No Wave, along with other goodies as well.

In other words, it will be a great fucking show, so tune in to 91.3 FM WBNY at 10 pm for another episode of The Upstate Soundscape.

Stream at WBNY.org.

Oh…we’ll also try to squeeze in a preview of Freeform Record Party at the Bend this Friday and the Colin Stetson show at Soundlab on Sunday. If we have time.