Underground and Local: This Heart Electric 7" and Diane Ream vs. Nags Head

Categories: Album Reviews
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This Heart Electric's "Polar" and "Nowhere To Run" 7" (die Stasi)
Ricardo Guerrero is a man of many hats. He is the cofounder of electro-punk duo Animals of the Arctic, curator of the annual local music showcase Death To The Sun, Psychic Youth collaborator, and minister of the low-end (he plays bass) in hahahelp!. What else could you ask for? How about gloomy, goth-night synth punk? Your wish is his command.

The debut single from Guerrero's This Heart Electric solo project is an exciting next step in the project's development. Up to this point, THS has existed as a one-man, press-play-and-spazz party MC. The tunes have always been there, but this 45 (complete with a big ol' fashioned hole in the middle) finally puts them on proper display.

It's essentially the perfect single: a scorcher on the A-side and something a little more subtle on the flip. "Polar" is a genuine dark party banger, pairing slinky boogie synthesizer licks with percussion that achieves the perfect level of Latin/tropical rhythm without taking a spill off the corny cliff. The vocals are great too. Guerrero's got a lil' Ian Curtis caught in his throat, but makes the style his own by substituting despair with soul.

The B-side, "Nowhere To Run," is a little more subdued and a little crunchier. But what it lacks in tempo it makes up in depth. Byrne/Eno style flourishes (well-timed boops and beeps) and the diseased falsetto that eventually comes to the forefront both cement this bad boy as the realest deal possible. Score This Heart Electric's single through Die Stasi.

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Diane Ream/Nags Head Split Cassette (Augurari)
This tape is the debut release from Miami-based label Augurari. And according to the catalog, both groups are "fictional" bands cooked up by the same "unnamed" visual artist. The music (or noise, or sound, depending on who's talking) is the product of various process-based exercises and the song titles give much insight into both the methodology and what you're going to hear.

Examples: "Fire a Pistol at an Amp," "Play Drums in the Next Room," " Belt Sand a Mic to the Cord," and "Drive Through the Country, Hold a Mic Out the Window." So field recordings of organic sound produced in ritual, presented as part of a band's discography? Sounds pretty cool, and sets a strong precedent for an exciting new Miami label. Pick up the Diane Ream/Nags Head split through Augurari.
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