Cassette Corner: Restaurnaut - "FAHF 2"

Restaurnaut - FAHF 2
(2013 Kerchow)

For the second day in a row, here’s another taste of California DIY, and like the zine I reviewed yesterday, Restaurnaut’s new tape, FAHF 2, more closely resembles Olympia, Washington’s off-kilter twee vibe than the crunchy garage-punk that California has been churning out lately. It’s pretty evident that frontman Nick Dolezal looks to Calvin Johnson’s many music projects for insight; both of the songwriters have a penchant for clunkily played, twangy guitars, and each delivers lyrics in an overly forceful tone, slowly sounding out each syllable with booming force. What sets Restaurnaut apart from Calvin and the K Records scene is his use of synths and samples. While just about every iconic K Records band limited themselves to guitar and drums, Dolezal is rather creative with his arrangements without sacrificing his lo-fi ethic. His tracks on FAHF 2 include clanging keyboards like those on “Don’t Feel Lonely Like The Rest” and gravelly noise loops on “Into The Star World”. He even mixes his vocals differently on each track. They’re especially abrasive on the closing track, “Arrow”, which happens to be my favorite of the 5 included on the tape. Not only does the song include some of Restaurnaut’s best lyricism, (“I’ll treat you like the last Egyptian Pharaoh”), but it also veers into some sonically adventurous territory. It spans four and a half minutes, an unheard of amount of time for the lo-fi genre, and features blasts of distortion in its chorus. In Beach Boys-eque fashion, a sample of an archer pulling back his bowstring accompanies the word “arrow” in the song’s second verse. The McDonald’s yellow cassette includes a good 15 minutes worth of old-school DIY, and it’s in a limited edition of 25 so don’t pass up your chance to get one!