Sunday, November 22, 2009

Labradford - Julius

(Merge, 1994)

I suppose I should account for my absence this past week. You see, I was in Portland (The Bearded City), where I was attending a supercomputing conference and generally enjoying the cheap, rainy livin’… though the best part of the trip was not to come until the flight home, when I shared an airplane with Everclear’s Art Alexakis. Not only was the guy flying economy (latest album musta stiffed), there was also an entertaining anecdote to be collected and shared: my boss sat directly behind him, and at one point his seat started shaking so violently that she thought he was having a seizure. Upon leaning forward to make sure he was OK, she saw that famed vocalist Art was in fact laughing hysterically at a “greatest bloopers” video that was being screened as in-flight entertainment. Ha! A true man of the people!

Labradford is people too, so we can now transition neatly into a brief review of this rather swell early single. The group takes many of its cues from Sonic Boom’s work in Spectrum and late-period Spacemen 3, with its glacial minimalism and sung-spoke vocals. Quite pretty in a chilly sort of way, even if songs like the church-y, drumless “Julius” never build to any satisfying conclusion. “Columna de la Independencia” is similarly languid, like a sleepier, moodier American Analog Set (and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the AmAnSet guys were big Labradford fans in the early days). Neither song is significantly better than what you can find on the band’s easily-had LPs, but it’s all still manna from above for fans of druggy ’90s post-rock.

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