Stars Kill Rock

KRS's latest
By WILL SPITZ  |  October 27, 2008

With the Paper Chase coming to town (June 25, Middle East upstairs) in support of their new Kill Rock Stars disc, Now You Are One of Us, we decided to check out some of the other stuff the Olympia indie imprint and its sister label, 5RC, have put out lately.

The Robot Ate Me, “Djien” (mp3)
It appears the Robot Ate Me’s Ryland Bouchard really wants Djien, “a monster spider the size of a man whose heart is buried in the ground causing it to survive the most critical attacks,” to protect him: he sings his plea in dainty falsetto over a primitive drum-machine beat and nifty criss-crossing melodies played by what sounds like a few clarinets. Our interest is piqued, but at just over a minute long, the song’s a bit of a cock tease.

The Old Haunts, “Fuel on Fire” (mp3)
The title track from this Olympia power trio’s latest pits curious minor-key guitar jitters against a fuzz-bass bottom and tom-tom stomp — which sounds better on paper than it does in stereo. No melody. No dynamics. No good.

Thao Nguyen, “Feet Asleep” (mp3)
The best of the batch — a swaying, countryish tune about something to which we can all relate — comes from a singer-songwriter who’s not even on KRS. This is one of the 21 songs that make up the label’s new The Sound the Hair Heard compilation, which features well-known singer-songwriters like Colin Meloy, Sufjan Stevens, and Laura Veirs alongside lesser-known folks like Nguyen, a recent college grad living in Virginia. With its understated swinging tambourine and drums, subtly plaintive piano and banjo, and pretty, bittersweet melodies, this could be the happy-sad sit-on-the-porch-at-dusk song of the summer. Hey, Slim: sign her up.

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