CREATURE FROM DELL POND “Dirty Deli” (Gleauxing Records)

Scuzz fukkers like Creature from Dell Pond don’t climb out of the muck quite so often anymore, and this is a generalization based entirely upon my limited worldview. The cusp of 1994 or 2003 is well in the rearview mirror, and bands have crested and broken and bashed themselves to bits on the shores of history in that time. Good thing ponds are pretty tranquil then – stagnant, perhaps, but undisturbed by the energy of the violent passage of time. I can vividly imagine my toes squishing in the mud where CFDP rehearse, and I come away from the experience in obvious need of a shower.

Like Number One Cup or The Joggers or probably some old Drag City bands or early Sub Pop bench players before them, these Chicagoans know their way around tightly coiled guitar rock, a midwestern export as classic as corn or wheat or soybeans. The bass is wickedly front and center quite often, and when it’s distorted, your rump vibrates in your chair (if you’re sitting while listening, like I am. I am always sitting). The vocals are mixed pretty high and are speak-sung with a casual disregard for tone at times, like early Dismemberment Plan. You don’t need a graduate degree in political science from Yale to know that having the Dismemberment Plan in your back pocket as an influence can open all sorts of heretofore blocked paths for popular success. (Don’t get me wrong though – having an advanced degree from Yale would actually help, in a lot of ways.)

At times playful, at others face-meltingly gritty, Dirty Deli is four songs that disco dance around noise rock and post punk with healthy doses of shoulder-shrugging indie thrown in for good measure. Take “Grammar School,” for example … which is actually called “The First Thing You Learn in Grammar School (There’s No 2nd ‘D’ in Drowning),” but you wouldn’t know it from the tape because it just says “Grammar School” – I had to download this thing first and glean this information from the frigging metadata. And I had to download it from CDBaby, for god’s sake! Who uses CDBaby anymore? I feel like I had a point in there somewhere that I wanted to make. Oh yeah! That’s a pretty good song title, and it’s also probably my favorite song on the tape. Good luck figuring it out.

For fans of: D Plan, Joggers, Number One Cup, Dope Body, Pissed Jeans, I guess. I do like or have liked or imagined I have liked these bands now or at some point. Or maybe I made them all up, and they’ll all disappear, including Creature from Dell Pond, as soon as I unimagined them. Let’s not find out, for all their sakes!

--Ryan Masteller