The Midwest Best - s/t and The Decay/Wayfarer - "split" (Hosehead Records)

Time for a double shot of retro from Toronto based Hosehead Records. Patrick (HR co-founder) sent along some stickers and a delightfully personal (handwritten!) note with these two tapes. I wanted to love these releases because I could sense his enthusiasm...unfortunately I didn't...

First up is a self-titled EP by The Midwest Beat. If PAISLEY UNDERGROUND makes you uneasy and/or angry stop reading now because The Midwest Beat's jangle pop (is that a bit o' twang in there too?) is nothing if not 60s flavored 80s nostalgia recast yet again here in the 10s. The EP is comprised of previously unreleased mono mixes of the group's self released debut CD (also put out as two 7"s by Dusty Medical). As a musician/label guy (Teflon Beast Records) what I really appreciate about this is the MONO (no, I didn't get a disease from listening to these songs). The difference between a stereo and a mono mix usually doesn't interest the casual listen, but since I'm not a casual listener I notice these things. The Beatles deceived me in my youth by making craptastic stereo mixes the only possible way to hear their albums on CD when I was buying them up in the 90s. Hearing the mono mix of Revolver a few years ago gave me an ear-gasm! The music is front and center - none of this shit where the tambourine is in the left speaker while all the vocals are in the right. No, mono presents the songs as they are and for a straight up rock band that is all they should need. Oh holy F, I've gotten off track here. Back to The Midwest Beat...their songs are ok...good singing and Rickenbacker ringing - the cover art is perfect for their sound, blah blah blah.
Side one of this The Decay/Wayfarer punk split doesn't work and its the better of the two sides. I liked Social Distortion when I was fifteen too...The Decay are rough and tumble punkers and the singer is quite the Mike Ness or if I feel like being worldly, Joe Strummer. I hate the shorthand of lazy criticism where the writer just compares the new band to an older band, but this is simply the best way to express what I'm hearing as I let the tape play. The Decay are great at being what they are and nothing else. This isn't about adding anything new to the musical conversation. The band try to answer the question, how does one express anger or dissatisfaction as age creeps past the early 20s into the 30s? The Decay are not going to grow old gracefully that's for sure.  

Wayfarer, oh no...Sorry...Opening track "Collide" put me off immediately. Bottom line: fans of a certain reheated emo/punk rock will love this split. For me, I'll stick with the classics.

Hosehead Links: Here and Here.