TILTWHEEL/OVAL: Split: 7″

This 7″ has two three‑piece bands who approach music similarly. Tiltwheel: unsung, virtually unknown, and usually hands‑down favorites of mine, don’t play poorly, but Davey’s vocals on this 7″ sound like a hybrid between Alvin Chipmunk and a prostate cancer’d Bob Mould ‑ tight, high, and uncomfortable. It think it’s the mastering or Davey lost a testicle and didn’t tell anyone. Anyhow, if you’re willing to be netted into songs instead of going for a “professional,” bright hook, Tiltwheel will grab a toe and take you down slowly. (Well, except the second song is a cover of Cher’s “Believe.”) Their last LP, “Hair‑Brained Scheme Addicts” is well worth seeking out. Oval: hyper‑proficient, super‑tight Japanese rock, much in the vein of Leatherface’s instrumentation (i.e. they build this thing called tension instead of doing a bar chord). If you give your ears the time to unspool what’s being played, you realize how lazy most other pop bands are. The only drawback is, once again, the vocals, which are scratchy and stuck in mid‑screech all the way through ‑ but maybe that’s how they always sound. Last word: hard to fully endorse because of the vocals, but wouldn’t hurt to snap up if you see it in the bin.

 –todd (Snuffy Smile)