Junior Low

Almost Forever

The last track on this cassette is titled "Trish Keenan," and it's really just a series of wailing, throbbing guitar tones with feedback and distortions. Essentially, it's a ballad composed of feedback. These sounds are absolutely beautiful, brimming with an intense melancholy I'm not sure anyone could fake. And of all the music found on this, the guitar-ripping, pedal-pumping, drum-thrashing man behind Junior Low's latest work, this is, remarkably (especially considering what constitutes the tape's actual song-songs), the most emotional Justin Schweitzer gets. And trust me, this is the heaviest-of-duty. The beautiful voice of Broadcast, Trish Keenan's loss, for Schweitzer, hit him where it hurts the most: his amp. That, in and of itself, makes me love this tape more than almost anything I've heard this year so far. Actually, I've flipped and played this thing too many times to count (if only Last.fm could scrobble the analog... to dream...). But to hear emotional music that is emotional by constitution of the actual sounds emanating from this tape's tightly wound spools, rather than some bullshit "I miss you, you broke my heart" lyrical sentiment makes me want to give the entire genre of emo a second chance.

Continuing along the lines set up in the heavily rad (and Tome pre-approved) release, Heavy, Schweitzer continues to gaze downward straight through his shoelaces with crunchy guitar tones, rip-roaring solos and some titanic drum fills. All of this is impressive knowing that Schweitzer played and recorded everything heard himself, but if you're a seasoned Low-listener and know that this is how Schweitzer operates, you may have been looking for something of a sound refinement. If there is any, it's not much, but what this tape does offer is merely some really great new tunes. "Bloodlust," "This Was Important," "Shadow Corner," and "Dead Weekend," are all pulse-pumping, blood-boiling rockers, replete with memorable melodies and some truly thrilling riffage, pummeled hard in glorious unisons. "Shadow Corner" offers an even-more sensitive side to the tape, as the mix is calmed quietly down with some nice Rhodes arrangements amidst the fury of metal'd out guitar gnarliness, leaving Schweitzer's voice to carry the tune with a softly-sweet melody, gorgeously committed to the track's insanely fervent disposition. 

The best part about Junior Low and all his work, but especially this hear tape release, is his go-for-broke approach. Everything from the octave-leaps on his guitar, to the half-open crunch of driving hi-hats, even to his vocals, which again display that half-whine/half-growling menace—Schweitzer's putting his everything into these tracks, and the results are goosebump-raising greatness, muscular, intimidating confidence and a devastating emotionality. And...there's that word again. But even if you hate the mere mention of the word "emo" and everything that it might mean to you, to listen to the songs and hear the ghosts of the 90s rock Gods you grew up with—Weezer to Sunny Day Real Estate, My Bloody Valentine to Dinosaur Jr.—is just a wonderful thing.


Junior Low on Bandcamp

Bridgetown Records

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May 1st, 2011