Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PLUNDERSHOP “Arthritic Reverbs”
(Flaming Biscuit)


Let me let you in on a little secret. Head due east from wherever you are until you hit interstate 95. If your north of South Carolina, take it south to Hartsville. Grab yourself something at a greasy spoon. See if Plundershop is playing around town. If your out of luck, ask around. I am sure Brantley will play you a few tunes on his porch.

Plundershop is the moniker of Brantley Fletcher, who has been throwing his home recordings out into the breeze for 2 decades, easy. There was a time, before all the hulla-ballo of websights and such nonsense, where you could put pen to paper and send a five spot for the newest Plundershop recording on Brantleys own Flaming Biscuit Records, a closet label doing what all similar operations were doing, and always will do…documenting the small scene one was immersing themselves in.

Around the turn of the century, the one page catalogs were no longer delivered, the Xeroxed zine ads stopped cropping up, and it seems the closet door was closed.

Well that is until now. “Arthritic Reverbs” is the latest Plundershop creation, and FBR has resurrected itself, its not that Plundershop ever stopped, more just laid down in the fog for a bit. I for one am glad to have FBR back again. Quality output – and the word is far from some mud renaissance.  “Arthritic Reverbs” is a short 5 song banger. Influences sprout here and there, from the opening word heavy storysong of “Mayan Calendar Girl” which has speckles of a Mtn Goats strum and dark humor, to the closing which recalls a bit of Pavement worship. Its best to have some sort of knowledge base into Plundershop though…tape to tape you really get a sense of what Brantley has been up to that year or so. He is constantly morphing. Older cassettes could run on for a good 90 mins, travelling the thin line between song and sound, ozone and earth. Some tapes could be digital murk, never a lyric uttered. Yet they are always fluid in their construction, and Plundershop definitely encompasses a sound all its own. “Arthritic Reverbs” is easily accessible to a degree. Acoustic and electric guitar strum or pluck, with Brantley whispering or belting it out at all the right places. There is the soft hum of open air which builds and runs through the background, delay and reverb, and you even have “Crippled Rockers” which drives straight through you and disassembles itself on occasion, but dosent diverge too too far off the path.  “My Library” & “Things I Could Have Done” channel up heavy bliss, and come off as if the recording device was set to : “conductor” almost as if the user had no control over anything and was forced to be a one-man-band heavenly choir.

It’s a good starting point, and an especially good re-start to the label. Given the catalog number : FBR #21 : my ancient brain and love of all things historical does hope as time goes on, and lost master tapes are found, that the old catalogs start showing up in my mailbox again.



-- Chris Fischer

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