Street Gnar Shrine EP - AC19
STREET GNAR, aka Lexington, Kentucky’s Case Mahan, has already got tapes out on Burger Records and Night People and now there’s this seven-song 12” on Atelier Ciseaux to add to the list. I’ve not caught any of those previous tapes but on this one he’s playing some dreamy bedroom pop with warm, upbeat guitar and synth over tinny drum machine beats, and Mahan’s weird treated vocals. The man clearly has a knack at making a good pop tune and then presenting it in a slightly unexpected way, with a few knowingly weird production decisions lending it a bit of an Ariel Pink or White Fence feel at times.
It’s on the second side that he really seems to hit his stride (or that my ears adjust to his sound, I don’t know which). ‘Don’t Tell’ particularly impresses with some fuzz guitar over a strangely creepy chord progression and distant reverb-soaked vocals; a perfect pop song warped out of shape in the sun. Then ‘Strings’ has a great kinda east coast slacker vibe like a lo-fi Alex Bleeker and the Freaks or Real Estate, conjuring up a strangely grandiose sound with his cobbled together set-up and taking his time to allow the weird crumbling tones jam out the final chords in a way that brings to mind Yo La Tengo. Then ‘Locked Out’ finally closes proceedings, a snotty teenage anthem that’s been left out in the sun until its ink is all bleached to light green and its corners are curled and tattered, eventually descending into a relentless krautrock chug. Cool EP. (Norman Records)