The Siltbreeze label and TNV recieved some well earned flattery from Pitchfork.com today.
Times New Viking
Present the Paisley Reich
Apparently Tom Lax of the venerably awesome Siltbreeze label was minorly miffed that Pitchfork somehow missed Times New Viking's first album, 2005's Dig Yourself. So call this oversight correction, because I fucking love TNV. Dig Yourself was, famously, the first new release on Siltbreeze in a bazillion years, after Lax had mothballed the label that hhttp://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifad brought us such head-rearranging 90s noise-rock totems as the Dead C's Harsh 70s Reality, Harry Pussy's Ride a Dove, and dozens more. Times New Viking, three pain teens from Ohio punning on fonts, are another remaindered irregular tweed suit off the label's rack.
If the group's thrashing pop flair and shouty boy-girl vocal tradeoffs initially feel a little, well, hooky to stand alongside such cap-peeling titans as Mssrs. Russell, Morley, and Yeats, do not forget that Siltbreeze also released singles by the likes of Guided By Voices and was deeply steeped in the scratchy kiwi pop aesthetic. And the opening drums on "Imagine Dead John Lennon" (now that's a song title)-- the lead track from Present the Paisley Reich, TNV's second album-- sound like hammered aluminum, and the rest of the song, all 1:36 of it, seems as if it was recorded with one tin can in Ohio, the other tin can in Dunedin, and the twine dredged across the silty bottom of the Pacific. I wouldn't blink if you told me that the pressing plant actually used dryer lint or dead leaves to conserve petroleum; the album's sparkling multi-hued murk and wet paper flatness will have you cranking the volume in iTunes.
Paisley Reich recalls everything from the Swell Maps' bedroom odes to Gerry Anderson to Huggy Bear's claustrophobically recorded teenpocalypse rave-ups, and from the snotrocket twee of the Vaselines to the musky, druid's glen fog that hung over the production of the Fall's Slates. And the songs are pop-punk gnashing and snarling and droning with all the sexual frustration-- "Teenagelust!" goes one title, and note the exclamation point-- and delicious ennui that's been surgically removed from the radio version. Times New Viking write the kind of terse, bitingly smart lyrics too smart to be buried in 10 million pounds of sludge from New York and New Jersey, but hopefully you'll just listen harder.
So they caterwaul, "I don't want to die in the city alone" and reject a lonely death with frantic cymbals and keyboards like needles in a camel's eye. 30 seconds before the end of "Ladders" the whole song shifts, jump-cuts, or changes channels, from distant noise to, like, louder noise. They bring out a Nuggets/"96 Tears" organ that they play like a cloddish Terry Riley on "Hiding in Machines". And forget this era of emo concept double albums and epic Neon Bible-style chest-beating; Paisley Reich is finished and done in 28 minutes. If you think that indie rock preens too much these days, Times New Viking probably sport bruises and scraped knees, and if you think it was all over for Pavement after "Forklift", TNV's lo-fi skree and bounce will certainly shake your love shack.
-Jess Harvell, March 23, 2007