Posts Tagged ‘safe distance’

Emotional Response at Blurt

Click through for reviews of Hulaboy, Safe Distance, and Boyracer!

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Emotional Response at Big Takeover

Click through for playlist.

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The Safe Distance at Vinyl District

Run by husband and wife team of Stewart Anderson and Jen Turrell, The Flagstaff, AZ-based label Emotional Response flies the flag of punkish indie pop and specializes in the tried-and-true format of the 7-inch EP, with much of the focus on the projects of the operators including Hulaboy and Boyracer. Of particular interest is “Songs” by The Safe Distance, a group featuring Anderson in tandem with Crayola of the UK band Sarandon and David Nichols of Australia’s Cannanes.

Whether it spins at 45 or 33 1/3 RPM, comes enclosed in a designed sleeve or one made of plain paper, or has a large or small hole drilled in its center, there’s nothing quite like the charge inspired by a worthwhile 7-inch. ‘twas once the dominant vessel for chart hits, countless misses and a surfeit of regional obscurities, but even after the advent of the compact disc, subscriber-based singles clubs flourished, as did a few labels specifically devoted to the short form.

The trend continues with Emotional Response, a 7-inch enterprise (though a flexi-disc does lurk in its background) co-managed by a guy who as the sole constant member of Boyracer played no small role in the ‘90s singles boom, his band releasing platters through the auspices of such esteemed imprints as Slumberland and Sarah plus his own Red Square and 555 Recordings.

While certainly connected to Anderson’s prior achievements, Emotional Response doth waft a distinct aroma, combining varying degrees of punk weightiness and humor with indie pop invention and a smart approach to the combination of physical product and technological advancement; over half the discography contains supplementary downloadable material.

Along with Turrell, Anderson’s partner in life and labeldom on bass, Boyracer’s most recent lineup flaunts the return of Sarah-period guitarist Matt Green. Thusly, Boyracer’s participation in Emotional Response’s roster isn’t a bit surprising, and for that matter, neither is the appearance of Hulaboy, Anderson’s long-running collab with Eric Stoess of Hula Hoop.

“He’s Making Violent Love to Me, Mother” is Hulaboy’s 3-song 7-inch/10-song download, its title culled from the dialogue of a film inextricably linked to the Christmas season (no, I shan’t spoil it), a gesture indicating recurring referentiality; opener “Exes and Enemies” names Facebook, “The Kid Asked” cites the records of The Jesus and Mary Chain and movies by Lars Von Trier, Michael Haneke and Mike Nichols, the raucous “Kids Under Stars” speaks of hearing Phil Ochs on the radio, and a pair of track titles allude to Mark E. Smith and Crispin Glover.

“Hey!” even opens with the titular sample-clip from said seasonal flick. Differing from this tendency however is Hulaboy’s briefest and best tune, “Napalm Heart.” “…ripping off the Postcard and Flying Nun back catalogue”: that’s a self-deprecating snippet from Emotional Response’s promo text, and while not necessarily off-target, “Napalm Heart” hits upon a catchy and sharp vibe reminiscent of a release by Stiff or maybe even Small Wonder. Altogether, ER 09 is a satisfying half hour.

ER 10 is Boyracer’s “Pete Shelley,” the 4-song 7-inch/6-song download pointing to a carryover of Hulaboy’s inclination for name-checking. But the comparison doesn’t really extend beyond the title-track, as surfacing instead is Anderson’s knack for lean and loud melodiousness; a highly fertile musician credited with 800 tunes (a quick glance at Discogs bears this out), the results here connect as the byproduct of an aggressive and un-fussed-over spontaneity.

Click through for the rest!

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Emotional Response at Backseat Mafia

Still in the glow of the new year and the full flow of obligatory resolutions, its sort of gratifying that pretty much everything about The Safe Distance and their new (sort of) video “Sandpits” has more than a whiff of DIY about it, that old favourite of those new year promises that last not long into the new year.

Given that the band is made up of David Nichols of The Cannanes, Stewart Anderson of Boyracer and Crayola of Sarandon, all three of which are hardly known for their silky smooth production (and damn it, we wouldn’t want them to be). As such, its a riotous slab of indie pop, gloriously DIY in its approach as this trebbly bass thunders and these guitar strum almost percussively as the wiry melody lines cast jagged shadows over the top. It all winds up to the swirling finish thats enough to leave you breathless at the end.

We’re not even sure the video is a premiere, although we think its possible, but given its criminally low views we’ll certainly claim it anyway. It was made, in true DIY fashion, by Crayola’s 9 year old son George.

The music, taken from The Safe Distance’s 7inch EP, is out on Emotional Response and is available from http://www.jenandstew.com

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Hulaboy, Boyracer, and Safe Distance at Scared to Dance

Stream the podcast at the link!

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Emotional Response at The Ringmaster Review

For a change we are clubbing together a trio of releases to look at in one go, the reason for this being the common denominator of musician/songwriter Stewart Anderson. The 7” releases from Boyracer,Hulaboy, and The Safe Distance are three early propositions of new indie label Emotional Response formed by Anderson and wife Jen Turrell. Having also run 555 Records and Red Square over the past couple of decades, the pair set up their new project with the intent of recording and releasing new music with friends, the outcomes limited in availability, produced on coloured vinyl, and only available right now through their website http://jenandstew.com/.

With their first release coming in 1991, Boyracer has been a constant source of excited punk pop, releasing over 800 songs since that first exploit with records unleashed through labels such as
Sarah, Slumberland, Blackbean, and Placenta. Coming off a four year hiatus, the Anderson founded proposition offers the Pete Shelley EP as their final release, with Turrell and Sarah Records era guitarist Matt Greenjoining Anderson for four irrepressible pop escapades. The EP opens with its title track, a bass and guitar drama with jabbing beats and expressive vocals. The song is lightly stomping from the off, beats punchy in a weave of politely jangling guitars and potently alluring hooks. It is not much more than a breath over a minute in length but provides pure contagious revelry for feet and imagination to greedily devour.

The following 3nd Wave Mod is similarly parading a fleet of inescapable hooks and quaint melodies within this time a rawer frame of rhythms and chords. As infectious as the first and with a great concussive crescendo in its middle, the song provides a tasty alternative pop adventure which the following The Kind Of Man You Really Are emulates with its tangy melodic clang and the brilliantJump surpasses with its twee pop devilry. Led vocally by Turrell this time, the fourth song swiftly reminds of seventies UK bands like The Chefs and Girls At Our Best. Bouncing with a mischievous melodic grin enhanced by the summery caress of keys, and a rhythmic incitement which again has feet instantly engaged, the song is an anthem for the passions. The release comes with two bonus tracks which were not on our promo but it is hard to imagine them being any less thrilling than the four songs already treating ears.

The Hulaboy EP, He’s making violent love to me, mother, is the celebration of a twenty year friendship between Anderson and Eric M. Stoess, a three track vinyl offering which plays ears with melodic charm and citrus sonic flavouring. As shown by first track Exes and Enemies, there is a sharp tone to the melodies which caress the senses but comes wrapped in a mellow and engaging elegance which is almost whimsical in its breath and temptation. Rhythms are firm though, giving the endeavour depth and muscle in all the right places and through the quirkily enterprising croon of the song.

Napalm Heart flares with lo-fi tenacity and melodic flaming from the first second, its undiluted catchiness and crispy resonance like a blend of The Freshies with a more cheerful Josef K, which for a minute and a half has ears inflamed and emotions wrapped up in sonic devilment. The flirtatious track is followed by Kids Under Stars, a raw blaze of sonic rapacity and garage rock causticity soaked in sixties pop colouring. The blistering encounter completes the impressive vinyl version of the single whilst the download comes with an additional seven tracks, with I find your topsiders and beard amusing and a great cover of Echo and the Bunnymen’s The Cutter particular standout moments.

Final release, the Songs EP from The Safe Distance, is the global link up of American Anderson on bass and organ with vocalist/guitarist Crayola Sarandon (Sarandon / A Witness) from the UK and Australian drummer David Nichols (Cannanes / Huon). Casting quirky dark pop clad in gripping shadows and brought with rippling sinews, the band uncage four tracks for the vinyl release of their EP.Hey you sets things off, probing beats aligned to guitar jangles and great monotone delivered vocals the initial delicious bait. The song proceeds to roam with a predatory glint in its sonic eye and bracing flames to its melodic hue, the imposition tempered by the flowery charm of keys and the addictive lure of the vocals. The song is
pure drama and quite infectious, a description also suiting the more restlessly contagious Soap. Tastily scuzzy but retaining a warm glow to its raw sound and invention, the track swiftly has thoughts and appetite gripped, whilst A bigger splash with its sultry smouldering of melodies and keys takes a little longer to draw a healthy dose of satisfaction but has ears and imagination fully involved by the time of its final fuzzy note.

The punkish Sandpit concludes the quartet of tracks, its bluesy roar and caustic energy colluding for a thoroughly thrilling slice of dirty rock ‘n’ roll, keys and guitars especially kicking up a dust storm with their sonic voracity. Completing the vinyl version, it is just part of another four original tracks on the download as well as a trio of covers featuring Hawkwind’s Silver Machine, Adam and the Ants’ Young Parisians, and the excellent take of Bogshed’s Fat lad exam failure.

Perfectly diverse but united in the songwriting prowess of Anderson and others involved, all the singles make an impressive entrance into the independent and underground scene by Emotional Response Records.

The releases from Boyracer, Hulaboy, and The Safe Distance are all available on coloured 7” vinyl and digitally now via Emotional Response Records @ http://jenandstew.com/

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Emotional Response at Whisperin and Hollerin

This is one of 3 singles all now out on Flagstaff Arizona’s Emotional Response label. They all come with bonus material on the download cards and are on coloured vinyl. This time it’s Blood Red for Stuart Anderson of Boyracer’s collaboration with Crayola and David Nichols who you may or may not know from the busy duo’s other bands.

The vinyl catches me out on first play as the cheeky sods have put it on a 33rpm 7″ and I started it at 45RPM. Still, had it said so on the label I wouldn’t have felt so dumb as I was a safe distance from the record player at the time (ho ho). As the lo-fi fizzing with odd keyboard bits kick in on Hey You it hooks you in before you even get to some odd lyrics about domination with a very cool repeating bass figure underneath it all.

Soap is an upbeat song about a sexual fantasy that includes having soap in your eyes. It’s kind of like The Prisoners going off on one in a strange alternate universe. On the B-side A Big Splash is kind of like a skewhiff Luna song with incredible flange guitar effects. It also sounds like one of those 80’s indie 60’s revivalists but it’s all about that guitar. Let me have loads more of that flanged out guitar love it. Sandpits is urgent frenetic almost shambling clatter pop hidden under all the noise with nicely sneered vocals.

The 6 bonus songs kicks off with Domesticated Male: a cool jaundiced look at being a well-trained domesticated male of clattering noise-pop and some very cool out of space organ sounds with a nod or two towards The Shend. The Cover of Adam and The Ants’ Young Parisians sounds more like they are channeling Wasted Youth’s Paris France, but either way it’s a cool take on it even taking into account the odd whistling bit.


Sasquatch is naive indie-pop that again references Luna and has a good bit when the repetitive vocals drop out and the musical madness takes over like someone is on the deck of a spaceship. That’s very cool incidentally. You don’t often hear Bogshed cover versions but damn do they do a number on Fat Lad Exam Failure. It comes on like the Fall on speed: a very cool take on this 80’s underground favourite.

Winged Man sort of suffers for following the Bogshed cover and coming as it does before a storming totally mental version of Hawkwind’s Silver Machine that closes the bonus and damn what a great version with mad noises and crisp vocals. As out there as it needs to be.

This ep and download are well worth getting fromEmotional Response Bandcamp page.

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Safe Distance at Losing Today

Best of the three by a whisker width is the four- track offering from the Safe Distance – a super group of sorts featuring various members of boyracer, the cannanes, sarandon and Crayola all gathering together to etch all manner of skewed and skedaddled pop discordance upon the finite grooves of this limited coloured wax 7. The press release makes mention of a shared pissing pool with the likes of Bogshed and Adam and the Ants – a good call because there’s a sense of dishevelment and pop discordance at work here that through the shambling haze emerges without word of warning moments of ear candy lucidity and yes while opener ‘hey you’ does hint at a new wave psychosis once honed to wax platters by a youthful Wire however it was the furiously unrepentant wiring and warped ‘sandpit’ that had us all agog here mainlining on  a manic melee of moments rifled from the nightingales and the tv personalities and having them set upon a deathly dust draped crossroads outland for the Fall to indelibly scratch their trademark skewif signature. Between all this you’ll find ‘a bigger splash’ doing some nifty lolloping Pavement meets Garlic groove while ‘soap’ is your classic era ‘dirk’ era Adam after sleep deprivation tests listening to the entire Beefheart back catalogue.

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