Reissue Review: Laundromat - "God Bless..."

Laundromat - God Bless the Laundromat + All Who Wash Within It
(Unread 2014)

Listening to just about anything released by Unread Records and Tapes gives me the odd sensation of being a trespasser. The label's back catalogue visually and sonically shares an aesthetic of intimacy; each cassette is sloppy, raw, and sounds as if it was recorded on the spur of the moment. It reminds me of the iPhone voice memos and 90 minute cassette tapes I've filled with song ideas and outtakes over the years, discarded recordings I'll uncover months later, often conjuring distinct sights and sounds of the day I committed them to tape (or mp3). That's the feeling I get when I pop an Unread tape into the deck. It is as if I enter the mind of its respective artist, peering through keyholes of locked doors and viewing slivers of memories. It is both an intimate and voyeuristic experience. One of the recent Unread releases I've most enjoyed is the re-issue God Bless The Laundromat and All Who Wash Within It, a collection of home recordings that are just over twenty years old. Jittery, upbeat indie rock in the vein of Sebadoh and fIREHOSE, the album is skeletal in construction (the tracks are brief - many are instrumental) yet cozy and intimate. The trio's simple combination of clean guitar, drums and occasionally keyboard is surprisingly explosive; each song is hammered out with a sense of urgency. The three band members seem to race to finish their part first, making sharp turns, starts and stops along the way. You can picture them recording the album as you listen to it thanks to the raw, yet still rather clear recording quality. God Bless is packed end to end with fast-paced jams, as fun to listen to as it probably was to record.