Dead Katz/Passion Pusher Split Tape

a2075642182_2 Due to our extensive research department here at Song, by Toad I know basically nothing at all about Dead Katz, apart from the fact their their Facebook page says they’re from a small town in California I’ve never heard of, and that they describe this town as ‘shitty’. I heard about them because of a split cassette release which Glasgow’s rather excellent Electropapknit Records (I really should ask them about that name, as I have absolutely no fucking idea what it is supposed to mean) have just put out, and which is itself also rather excellent.

You can listen to and order the cassette here, and I recommend you do, as it is one of the best recent examples of its kind I’ve heard. By its kind, I mean that kind of lazy-sounding slacker guitar music, tinged with shoegaze, old-school indie rock, lo-fi and a bit of dreampop. You know the kind of stuff I mean – or at least you will within about five seconds of pressing go on the embedded player at the bottom of the page.

I’ve been a little quiet on this sort of style of music for a while recently, and I think that’s because after the initial burst of underground energy brought so many absolutely brilliant bands of this type to my attention, the last year or so has been rather more cluttered with unimaginative imitators, presumably attracted to the very high levels of hipster cred which now surround the genre. That’s fine of course – ‘hipster cred’ is often largely made up of plain and simple ‘popularity’ and not something to be sneered at, and it’s good to see an increasing level of engagement in this kind of music from people with a bigger audience and more mainstream clout than I have, but the ensuing rush to follow can trample some of the good stuff underfoot.

In Passion Pusher, of course, we in Edinburgh have our own impossibly prolific master of this kind of sloppy-yet-awesome approach, and the tags on their Bandcamp page pretty much sum up the aesthetic of the genre: “alternative bummer dingus rock lo-fi noise pop sex rock Edinburgh”. The haplessness of of lot of this stuff can put people off, I guess. For some it seems feigned, but it very often isn’t.

The ones putting it on for cool points annoy pretty much everyone, but then plenty of these musicians are just genuinely as socially awkward as their public personas can suggest. And underneath the prickly exterior, if you have a genuine appreciation of and interest in their music, they are generally really nice too.

It can sound careless and deliberately shitty too, but I really resent that accusation. There’s often a very specific sound which takes quite a bit of thought to achieve – the slightly wobbly guitar on Passion Pusher’s Life in Transit, for example, is fucking gorgeous and it’s not the first time I’ve sat up and taken notice during one of their songs and thought ‘hang on, what’s that, it sounds fucking ace’.

I think sometimes the best way to figure out if this kind of music is actually by a good band, rather than someone chasing a fashionable sound, is simply to listen without paying much attention. With short sharp stuff like this, if it’s any good, you’ll soon find yourself humming along or feeling instantly familiar with the songs. And this tape is good. Really good, in fact.

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