I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness, Red Leaves, and Smog
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., July 21, 2006
Beyond summer's glut of local releases, there's a few choice shortcuts. I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness proffer a three-song EP titled According to Plan (Secretly Canadian). While its title track, the single off this year's Fear Is On Our Side, is Chosen Darkness at their danceable synth-and-bass-gorged best, "Close to Here" is beautiful noise trampled under propulsive beats, and "Better Strangers" glides along as a quieter affair. Whereas ILYBICD dishes out Eighties electro in all-black, local trio Red Leaves do it in color. Their debut EP, All the Zombies, jerks and twitches toward fresh, throbbing melody on opener "Dungeon Dance." "House on Fire" and "Always Behind" both combine the chime of guitarist David Lujan and bassist/synth player Singer Mayberry with predatory basslines and head-start guitars that are Pixies-fed and Texas grown. It's almost as if each song is a color in a neon sign that screams: Dance, you heathens. And then there's Smog. Ol' Bill Callahan hasn't made much of a squeak since he moved here, but his latest Drag City offering, Rock Bottom Riser, revisits last year's masterful A River Ain't Too Much to Love, starting in the delta blues of the title track. The best song is "I Feel Like the Mother of the World," redux from River as well, if only for the invective Callahan delivers (war: bad) through clenched teeth. "Bowery" is a quiet tale of addiction and solitude and "Fools Lament" pats pal Willie on the back. These three bands could make the perfect soundtrack to a good summer horror flick: You've got zombies, darkness, and smog.