3 X Juniper Tree Songs

Funny, just the other day I pulled out some old Yo La Tengo CDs 'cause I hadn't listened to them in a long time and remembered the evening my friend Aaron convinced me and our friend Mike to spontaneously jump in the car to catch a rocking, swaying, ringing YLT club gig in Dallas. Thinking back to the many good times and variety of bands that have managed to scream sonic blek into my skull dome...bang, all of a sudden I have three tapes from a new Long Beach, CA label called Juniper Tree Songs, and they have me feeling all "college rock" just in time for torn sweater weather.

The first tape I slap in the boombox is a split EP by Vehicle Blues and Shivering Window. VB vs. SW is lo-fi & reverb guitar rock thru & thru. Vehicle Blues reminds me 100% of early Yo La Tengo (and the sound of that band live). Very VU distorted and leads that could transport the generation of YLT and Galaxie 500 back to their dorm room tears. Shivering Window embrace hiss, feedback, quiet-to-loud distortion and reverb soaked singing. These two bands are good examples of why young bands and artists should get together and make tapes. Ah, the lo-fi revolution...it hasn't happened yet, right? Good stuff.

The Cthulhus' Songs from the Slipstream '09-'11 is hissy overdriven 4-track rock. Some whizzle-knob-spin keyboard stuff flies all over and around direct to the board guitar riffing with rudimentary beat bopping keeps time (could be a drummer, or a drum machine, or somebody beating a cardboard box...), but the songs are actually pretty good. I like the sloppy lead guitar playing (current fave is "Wasp 17"). The Cthulus clearly make music for themselves (himself?), so who cares if the songs come across pretty similar throughout?

The third tape in the batch is the most interesting. Tribute Hearse: EVP of RP a lo-fi tribute to Rudimentary Peni is exactly that, a TRIBUTE to 80s punk (freaky weird punk that is!) band Rudimentary Peni. Cool! I now have reason to go and listen to RP. Thanks JTS! The good thing about this trib is that the bands (Nicole Kidman, Morgue Toad, and Kent State to name just three of fifteen acts on the tape) don't come out and try to recreate the original recordings note for note. They take the energy and attitude and apply it to their particular styles. Some of these bands sound more "punk" than others, but the no-fi techniques assure a very scratchy listening muck. 

Juniper Tree Songs has a good look and sound as label. I'll recommend these tapes to the type of listener who prefers piles of hiss with a pinch of rock band in their auditory cocktail. Finally, check out a vid from Shivering Window.

Listen HERE.

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