Thursday, January 11, 2024

Slacker prog/Frances Chang/Manta(r)/dollar bins/ecosystem analogies

The Ramp Local newsletter pointed me to Frances Chang's upcoming album Psychedelic Anxiety (good title, also a good cover, more album covers should feature pictures of ducks and samplers). The song "Eye Land" in particular is a quality example of what she aptly calls "slacker prog":

i.e. it goes all over the place, there are fuzzy 90s indie-rock guitars in spots, but not for long, nothing stays in one place for long. A jigsaw with a lot of pieces and a lot of the pieces are a dizzying blue sky.

In sort of related news, I went through my M box of CDs and found Manta's album Classic Battles, which hits some similar notes. Some really memorable songs in there that also go all over the place, particularly "On the Banks of the Sad River" and "Light Is the Only." 18 years later I still find myself singing "We all die alone" over and over again, or "A seal makes me feel strong." Her stuff with The Badger King is also great if largely unobtainable at this point - not expensive, just obscure. Naturally their best moment is on some EP that I never saw in real life and that never made it to Disqwogz, probably just handed out on CDRs and that rattled around Soulseek long enough for me to suck it down.

I do like how people are using as a sort of virtual dollar bin. One of my beefs with Bandqlamp is that there's no place for the bottom feeders - that weird thing you put out fifteen years ago will kick around forever at the $7 price point rather than showing up scuffed in some bin on the floor for a dollar. That's not how nature works!

The person who posted this one posted a lot of other mid-aughts Portland stuff from that scene that I was tangentially involved in, stuff that would never actually be rereleased and that I barely remember, but that still forms a pretty good rabbit hole to get lost in.