KULOOLU Records Comp — The Presidents of the KULOOLUnited States of America
The first release from this brand new Champaign-based label is a compilation tape of local and other Midwest bands covering The Presidents of the United States of America. Like the original The Presidents of the USA versions, each of the songs on the comp has that hot summer barbecue vibe, but the variety of the covers are as different as these bands. They’ve each got a unique take on their chosen song, whether it’s Emily Otnes’ adorable “meoooow”s on “Kitty,” Jeremiah Fisher’s not really even recognizable bleep bloopy cover of “Body” or Soap Scum’s alternatively titled cover of an MC5 cover “Kick Out the Slamz”. This light-spirited comp leaves us expectant for what might come next from Kuloolu Records (pronounced coo-loo-loo, by the way) with so many great bands on board. — Maddie Rehayem
No vocals? No problem for Thirst and their (?) second release [thirst], an instrumental five-track that dispenses with poetry and focuses instead on making everything rhythmically and tonally correct. Raw guitar lines, synthesizer snippets, and trip hop touches are anchored by a heavily syncopated drum machine backing track that holds things together. There are elements that feel a bit like a slowed-down Massive Attack, but simple, clean, and minimalistic, and the production is tight throughout.. Track three, “The Shaking,” has a few vocal samples thrown in, serving as another percussive instrument rather than a voice part. “The Walk” (track four) uses a Legend of Zelda-esque keyboard line that steadily threads through the track even as the tone of the song changes around it.
So… what are these songs for? That’s up to you. Check ‘em out. — Jason Brown
Single Player — Are You There?
Single Player’s sophomore tape on Rat King Records is an expansion on the success of Could Care Less’s lo-fi indie catchiness. This time around Sean Neumann, the mind behind Single Player, brought twang into the mix on tracks like “Older” and achieved a greater depth of lyricism. You can practically taste the “Jelly” as Sean’s heartfelt lyrics create a sensory experience. Are You There? is a quiet storm — even at its noisiest, the music keeps its cool, but never fails to pack an emotional punch. Single Player has become something of a laid-back Wilco on this tape. It’s exciting to hear Sean’s sound developing into something much more singular than where he started. — Maddie Rehayem