HOUNDSds, Phone Thou

Luke Carrell

Listening on:

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A Sanyo M W800. This model is notable for its four speaker arrangement (two on the top and two on the front) and elongated design. In an average-sized room the unique speaker arrangement doesn’t seem to have much affect on the sound, except for letting you still be able to hear the music really well if you happen to be standing directly over the machine, and adding a nice natural reverb that might be intended to mimic more powerful units. Otherwise, it’s fairly standard: stereo mic plugs, tone dial, user-friendly dubbing features, etc. It also comes in a pinkish red and more standard silver color schemes.

The band:
HOUNDSds is Patrick McIntyre’s Brooklyn-hatched solo recording project that’s making the shift to live performances. They’re looking for a drummer, so hit them up on craigslist if you’re into it. The Phone Thou EP is the project’s first physical release and represents a natural evolution from last year’s Los Dos, which delivers a much more classic dream pop sound.

The music:

The sweaty fingerprints of Mancunian guitar pop and a few lipstick smears from the new romantics give Phone Thou’s glassy synth and guitar an opalescent quality. The song structures are varied and often heavy on the hooks, giving the tracks a slippery feel and natural momentum throughout. The overall sound is reminiscent of the front end of Martin Duffy-era Felt and will likely appeal to people who enjoy The Cure’s more concrete, percussive material but hate Robert Smith’s voice and have always wished that someone would replace him with softer pysch-tinged cooing. No really, if those people actually exist, they will be so into this. Maybe you are secretly one of those people and you’re just finding out now. Anyway, just think about it.

How it sounds:
The clean production on this EP translates to tape very nicely. The tiny bits of distortion that grab the very edge of the reverb give an extra body to the tracks’ more “jangly” elements.

The full package:

The natural muted tones of the cover’s arid landscape carries over to the grays and blues of the cassette itself. The art is well printed and could stand out in a stack of current tape releases, solely by virtue of its demure coloring.

Listening:

“Oh My Lord, I Can See Your Face” is a buoyant cycle you’ll be glad you got sucked into.

The gently jostling guitars of “We Gotta Wait” build a carfeul momentum that crashes out and slowly rebuilds into something you should definitely hear.

“By The Time I Get To Kalamazoo” draws on power pop to create a memorable closer for the EP. Interesting textural use of acoustic guitar here and some EPIC SYNTH MOMENTS.

HOUNDSds Phone Thou is now available from Chill Mega Chill. Stream the EP and order the tape, which comes with complimentary sticker or button, on Bandcamp.

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