KINDLING / KESTRELS: Split: 7″

This cross-border split from Easthampton, Mass.’ Kindling and Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Kestrels is an excellent reminder of the depth of contemporary shoegaze. With one original and one cover each, this split is a testament to what a well-crafted four-song split can do. Rather than feeling slapped together, everything feels like it makes sense here. Kindling’s side pairs a less-urgent Sunny Day Real Estate-esque track called “Wait” with a scuzzy remake of The Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Gretchen Williams’s vocals do something spectacular to Westerberg’s particular brand of sad and euphoric lyrics. On the flip side, Kestrels’ original “Octavio” is the meeting place of Hum and The Anniversary—a formula that carries through to their cover of My Bloody Valentine’s “Thorn,” to which they add a notable edge. This is what splits are supposed to be—cohesive, sharp, and witty. The colored vinyl doesn’t hurt either. –Theresa W. (Noyes, noyesrecords.com)