Headphones – s/t

Headphones – s/t
(Suicide Squeeze)

It seems nowadays that every decently popular band in the indie market also has some sort of side project going on. I mean just try to count all the side project Zach Hill has going on right now. And if you’re the fan of one, you have to be the fan of the other right? So, if you’re a fan of Pedro the Lion I guess you have to purchase this album, or you’re probably going to anyways. Luckily, the album is surprisingly successful and I think it would appeal to a larger audience than PTL normally gets.

For all its success, PTL has mostly remained on the margins. Even among indie rock fans, PTL’s music has never quite received the attention that I think it deserves. It’s always been a little too simplistic and too bitter to achieve any large amount of hype. Upon hearing about David Bazan’s new project being comprised solely of synthesizers and drums, you might think that Bazan might be trying to catch onto the dance-punk fad, and to finally start selling records. Yet, if you’re familiar with his work, you’ll realize that they last thing Bazan wants is to get the indie kids dancing in their seats.

Any concerns will be allayed within the first two songs. “Gas and Matches,” and “Shit Talker,” rely on the dark, dismal lyrical styles of New Order with odd time signatures courtesy of drummer Frank Lenz (Starflyer 59). “Gas and Matches” foregrounds the best elements of any PTL album, which is Bazan’s lyrics, as it tells the story of the storyteller being tortured, doused with gas and lit afire by a former friend. Or in “Hello Operator,” as a man uses his phone to choke his wife to death while he makes a phone call. If there’s one thing that Bazan excels at more than any other it’s his ability to tell stories of misery and sin.

This is largely what made this album so enjoyable. Bazan has the ability to make everything he touches sound so sincere. He never sounds like he’s preaching to you, and it doesn’t sound like he’s trying to follow any trends. — Zak

SCORE: 3.50 stars

Recommended If You Like: Pedro the Lion, Starflyer 59, The Flaming Lips