The Black Angels, School of Seven Bells, the Young, Camp X-Ray, and Anais Mitchell & Rachel Ries
7 and 7 Is
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Sept. 19, 2008
The Black Angels cast out sophomore night terrors, Directions to See a Ghost, across six jet-black vinyl sides, but single "Doves" (Light in the Attic) proves the local quintet still had one left in the chamber. B-side "Drone in G# Major" lives up to its title, an acid-wash of 13th Floor Elevators groove and thunder guided by Alex Maas' smoke-and-mirrors incantations. Secret Machines architect Benjamin Curtis drones more toward pellucid pop with School of Seven Bells. The NYC-based trio's debut single, "Silent Grips" (Suicide Squeeze), turns on the warm jets, layering divine harmonies by twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza over laptop-triggered, polysaturated beats and glazed-over guitar. The latest restless punks to be singled out by Austin's stellar Super Secret Records, the Young make Jay Reatard's Blood Visions sound like a flight of fancy via their 7-inch debut. The local quartet's four-song EP is a blitzkrieg of lo-fi garage fury with coarse vocals that foam at the mouth, particularly "Get Out of My Face." Equally neurotic, Austin's Camp X-Ray pumps a fistful of quarters into Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade on its own debut EP (Twistworthy), a noisy four-song barrage of guitar-centric post-punk with hardcore tendencies. Former Austinite Anaïs Mitchell & Rachel Ries may now reside in Vermont and Chicago respectively, but they met at a Texas campfire. With their debut collaboration, Country E.P. (Righteous Babe), the two songwriters take turns leading each other on stark, lonesome folk tunes ("When You Fall," "O My Star!") sure to keep the flames crackling.