Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Red Traces-Once Were EP (2013)

March is prime Old Sad Bastard Music time: y'know, music that isn't exactly depressed, in the way that Joy Division is, but rather bummed out. Bummed out the way a cranky record store clerk is. Bummed out the way the characters in High Fidelity were-the book from which I stole that catchphrase, as it happens.

L.A.'s Red Traces is just such Old Sad Bastard Music. These two songs shimmer in and out of focus like a mirage in the desert surrounding the band's hometown. Slightly downcast, "Once Were" is fueled by somber keyboard notes, an exquisitely slow drumbeat, and the singer's morose intonations. Sorta like if Tindersticks weren't so damn dramatic, and instead were simply sad. I kept waiting for Red Traces to slam into a heavy part, but it never happened: it's just bittersweet pop in a blue tone. Same with "Nothing South": Red Traces has a knack for writing tunes that are maudlin without being boring.

Check out Red Traces here.

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