January 18, 2011

Douglas Martin writes songs based around the summertime, holding a nine, splitting Vega’s in half.

It’s a common theme for musicians– especially new-school sound architects unconcerned with the “old-hat” art of songwriting– to be subconsciously influenced by their surroundings, which most of the time is primarily decided upon by the climate of the artist’s region. This is how we’re given the summertime rooftop party vibe of Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils, the outside-the-margins folk-rock of Portland’s Blitzen Trapper, and conclusive evidence that Iceland is actually located on Mars (Bjork, Sigur Ros, case closed). When running through Young Circles’ Bones EP (available for free-ninety-nine on their Bandcamp page), it’s hard to tell exactly where they’re from, their experimental streak finds them bouncing from comparison to comparison, finding common ground with The Flaming Lips one minute and the mongrel lovechild of The Beta Band and Jesus and Mary Chain the next. If their press release didn’t note that they’re from Miami, I probably would have just assumed they were Canadian.

“Dim those lights, and sleep for the rest of the winter,” are the half-drunkenly sung lyrics that open the second verse. Perhaps experiencing the dreary grey and wet winters of Seattle for the past twelve years is part of the reason, but the pouring-rain and darkness that “Hellhound Sights” conjures makes for the EP’s most gripping listen. White noise swirls underneath the keys of a barely-tuned piano, while the dusty drums tap a jazzy swing in 6/8 time. The song carries the feel of a contemporary remake of an old black-and-white movie, using the same monochromatic template and camera angles of the original while still evoking a very modern sense of mystery. “Kiss your lips for you, ’till they turn black and blue,” go the lyrics in the chorus, thunderous piano chords heightening the danger factor until the aforementioned noise is swallowing everything whole in the final thirty seconds of the song. What follows is the forcible piano stabs that open the song and an uncomfortable silence that’s universal in location.

Download:
MP3: Young Circles-“Hellhound Sights”

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