Juniper Rising - Self Titled
(2013 Burger Records)
Here are two genres of music that I never thought I'd see smashed together: early country music and the lo-fi punk sound of Beat Happening and Tiger Trap. Although, on paper, the two vibes would seem to clash, somehow Brooklyn's Juniper Rising pulls off the combination quite well. Something in the way Kevin Faulkner's steel guitar dips and dives around Holly Overton's crunchy chords sounds surprisingly perfect; hearing it is like the time you were seven years old and discovered that the fries at Wendy's taste great when you dip 'em in your Frosty. This 5-song cassette doesn't sound like anything you've heard before, and after you've listened to it for the first time, you'll be wondering why you hadn't. It's not insanely groundbreaking, but it's an easy-to-love EP that anyone can take a liking to.
The tape puts its best foot forward with the pop gem "Daydream". It has a twangy, easygoing vibe that reminds one of Mazzy Star. Why is it that every song titled "Daydream" is so great? There are certainly quite a few floating around, and many of them, especially the ones by Juniper Rising and Beach Fossils, have a bouncy, sun-drenched mood that radiates from your tape player's speakers and diffuses throughout the room. Play this song loud enough through your bedroom window and everyone on your block will don cowboy hats and square dance in slow motion. "Golden" is another favorite of mine, as it has a gritty punk feel that sounds similar to that of the Vivian Girls. This EP is chock full of quality tunes that sound very fresh. It's not nearly as derivative as a lot of the music one hears these days. By the way, I'm sad to say that this was the first Burger Records tape I've ever owned. It surely won't be the last. Listen to "Daydream" below.