Monday, October 17, 2011

Graves - Summr Bummr LP on St. Ives

A new LP from my favorite pacific northwest songwriter on one of my favorite labels. Greg Olin's long-running lazy lounge pop band, Graves, has a new LP on St Ives. St Ives is the vanity vinyl side label from Secretly Canadian. All records are pressed in quantities of 300 or less and all jackets are handmade. They've released records from Animal Collective, Microphones, Mt. Eerie, Fruit Bats, Impossible Shapes, etc.

As is pretty typical of the more recent Graves records (Easy Not Easy (one of my favorite albums of all time), Seldom Slumber), Summr Bummr really plays with the traditional idea of how albums are "supposed to be". There are tunes that repeat with minor variations (O O O Around The World), instrumental reprises, and complete reworkings of tunes into alternate versions (Lazer Show and Hollywood). Lazer show and Hollywood shows up in two completely different incarnations on Summr Bummr, but also appeared on the PIAPTK Records Digest 4x5" Bookset in a version that was even more wildly different than the two here. Summr Bummr also features two songs that had previously been released on a four-way split LP with Karl Blau, Nate Ashley and Gift Machine. Magic Mountain, like most of the revisited songs here has been revamped to be even more mellow than it's predecessor. The Motown-style backing vocals really add a different feel to this version. Summr Bummr's closer, Weed Out The Trips, shares an identical title with a song from the 4-way split, but the comparisons stop there. The Summr Bummr version is COMPLETELY different, lyrically and musically. Olin must really like the phrase, because Weed Out The Trips was also the working title of an album with another of his projects, Solid Home Life with Lindsay Schief of LAKE, which will be coming out soon on PIAPTK, Fin Records, and Lost Sound Tapes.

Summr Bummr seems to be a concept album about coming into adulthood. Lyrical themes of homework, missing the bus, skipping class, mailing thank you notes, etc help recall the excitement and uncertainty of the summer after high school graduation, without ever becoming cheesy or overly nostalgic.

While you are at it, check out Olin's new band, Au Dunes, at their Bandcamp and download their new EP, 73's and 88's for free. While Olin still writes and sings the songs for Au Dunes, the listless, drifting, melodies of Graves, have been replaced by a more upbeat swagger reminiscent of The VU or The Stones. Some of the tunes would fit in really well on a Nuggets compilation.

Au Dunes - 73's & 88's - 02 Sugar Cubes by PIAPTK

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