The New Year
It seems like just about every week, I not only find several new releases that I want, but also find out about several old ones that I completely missed the boat on. It's a bad thing for a complusive music collective, insuring that my needed record list grows almost exponentially. It's because of that reason that whenever I hear someone say that they, "haven't heard anything good lately," I want to take a sharpie permanent marker and simply start writing the names of amazing bands all over their body, knowing that I could fill every square inch of skin with not only amazing bands that I have heard, but supposedly amazing bands that I still want to hear.
Which finally brings me to my current band that I missed out on; Bedhead. For some reason, I didn't pay enough attention when people mentioned their name to me or something, but when I finally got ahold of Transaction De Novo and BeHeaded, I couldn't put them down. As you probably already know, Bedhead broke up, but like a Phoenix from the ashes, The New Year was formed (with a member of the excellent Codeine as well) and has continued on a very similar course.
Speaking in a purely technical sense, neither Bedhead nor The New Year do anything that hasn't been done before numerous times. What makes them different is that they seem to understand exactly the boundaries of the music that they play, and therefore fill nearly every moment with something interesting. While Bedhead moved in sort of country-tinged slowcore realm, The New Year steps out into a nicely constructed realm of subtle rock tracks. They still have the quiet cadence of Matt Kadane on vocals and the assured guitars of he and his brother while subtle tempo changes fill the album and give it a very real sense of life.
Whereas many groups who inhabit the same sorts of genre tend to stretch tracks out (which is sometimes a good thing, but sometimes leads to droll moments), The New Year is just about as tight as they come. 10 tracks in just under 33 minutes and they're out. "Half A Day" starts the disc with a subtle hint of mariachi behind the track, while "Reconstruction" progresses as a literal interpretation of the title, building layer upon layer until the rocking ending. "One Plus One Minus One Equals One" is simply one of the most beautiful slow tracks that I've heard in a long time.
While there are a couple moments in the first three-quarters of the disc when the group rocks out, they really let loose with the closing tracks and it's a great thing. "The Block That Doesn't Exist" builds with electric guitar before breaking off into a quiet chorus and finally coming full circle for a rollicking end while "Carne Levare" moves along with an odd timing that matches the vocals perfectly. Album-titled "Newness Ends" ends the album with a huge emotional release that makes you wish the whole thing went on even longer, but at least the repeat button becomes a familiar and inviting option. Bedhead may be dead, but long live The New Year.