Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Music Review: Microtia - Spacemaker

Microtia hail from Portland, Oregon -- a town that never really gets the credit for the weird and cool scene it has had going for years now. Their new CD Spacemaker is a prime example, for a number of reasons. The first is in the packaging. They definitely believe in the DIY ethic. I had to crack up when I opened the eco-friendly (to the extreme) CD holder. It is made out of a Coors Lite beer case. They did a damn good job with it too, because it works perfectly. The next is the track listing, which have been manually typed onto a cut out cigarette box.

Setting aside the attention grabbing packaging though, what one finds on the disc itself is some pretty aggressive guitar driven rock. There are a couple of bands I thought of when listening to it for the first time. For example, “1000% Sure” took me to places normally inhabited by And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. “Can You Hear The Jets” and “Interlude” exhibit some Radiohead damage, but they never slow it down to get as whiny as Yorke does sometimes.

There are a couple that the band may have never even heard of, for all I know -- but that I found myself reminded of. One is a group who called themselves East Ash. The other is The Silencers, whose visionary A Letter From St. Paul was one of the most sadly overlooked late eighties releases ever. It is the aggression of East Ash mixed with the storytelling of The Silencers that comes to mind when listening to “Tone Mtn. VS The Body Of Riffage” (gotta love them titles).

As Spacemaker moves into its final three tracks, the prog tendencies hinted at by the earlier Radiohead homages take center-stage. It is all done with some heavy riffs though, so as to never get too pretentious.

Microtia’s Spacemaker is a great homegrown record, and one worth checking out for those interested in cool, unsigned bands. To give people a little taste of Spacemaker, the band are even offering up a free single.

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