Upside Drown - Mood Music
Upside Drown is definitely getting my vote for liner notes of the year. The lyrics of the Oakland band's first full length are printed in a 12 page mini-zine, cut and pasted over top of pictures of dinosaurs and stacks of tires. A square is cut into the front of the light green cover, so the back of the zine doubles as the tape's cover art. Until I opened up the cassette, I had no clue that there was a booklet inside. I could spend hours flipping through it. Like the packaging it comes in, Mood Music is sparse on the surface, but scrutiny reveals an intricate weaving of sound. Staccato guitar and bass bounce against each other to form screwball harmonies while the stop-and-start rhythms keep you off balance. It's sort of a combination between the jazz-inspired complexity of fIREHOSE and vocal stylings that faintly remind me of Dirty Projectors. There's something I can't quite put my finger on that makes the sound instantly infectious. "Castles" just might be the best song on display here, opening with tumbling piano notes and sparse bass, mellow saxophone buzzing in the background. The two-part female vocals steal the show, though; the sugary harmonies swelling beautifully. Take a look at a sample of the mini-zine below and listen to Mood Music below.