So I used to be in a band and we went on "tour" once. I was in charge of booking, so I ended up getting us three really lame shows. Spokane, Eugene and this crazy "festival" of cool sounding bands in a tiny place called Elkton, Oregon. The dismal failure of this small tour was only redeemed by all the new records I got and the stories to tell. This record preserves the sound of two of those bands and, listening to it years later, the tour seems even worse now.
The two bands are both two-pieces (drums/guitar) and they both suffer from some pretty thin production. There must be some magic guitar/sound engineer tricks to make a two-piece sound like a full band, but they were not employed on these recordings. This lo-fi sound is in line with the whole philosophy of the festival we played. Out in the woods in a garage on a sunny day, these bands sounded awesome. Even better after swimming in the river across the highway or from up on the hill behind the house. Bands like this aren't made to be recorded, I think.
Brindle is sort of a trashy sounding, super distorted Fugazi. The vocals are waaay back in the mix, though, and the best part of the band is the interplay between the drum and bass with some interesting syncopation. The first song is abruptly too short, the second one has a cool melody, and the third one is a sludgy affair with more thin vocals singing "The chain pulls tight around my neck." The production really lets this group of songs down and I bet they'd be interesting to hear again live if this band still existed.
Merrick Foundation are a little more mainstream and sort of southern rock-flavored. Again, the vocals are deep in the mix but this time, reverb blurs the words into pretty much nothing. With the southern rock and the reverb, Merrick Foundation actually harken back to some of the early 90's alternabands. However, their songwriting is nonsensical and the first song speeds up and gets chaotic for no particular reason. At the end, it ends up just being a mess of noodling guitars. The second track seems just like random vocals over some random drums. It's extraordinarily short.
Even though the music doesn't make much of an impression, there's definitely a place for this record in my collection. It marks that fateful tour and it preserves the spirit of innovation that only comes from DIY scenes. The type that throw shows in a garage by the highway in a town no one's ever heard of.
1: So Digital Brindle
2: Trash Candy Brindle
3: Plate Kief Brindle
4: The Sun Merrick Foundation
5: Slash the Z Merrick Foundation