Posts Tagged ‘the safe distance’

The Safe Distance at Big Takeover

Adding to his super-extensive discography, Boyracer’s Stewart Anderson joins Sarandon’s Crayola andDavid Nichols from Cannanes and Huonfor an indie pop extravaganza spanning three continents (North American, Europe and Australia, respectively) and heavily rooted in the psychedelic garage rock of the second Nuggets box set.

Opening with the fuzzy, snaking guitar line of “Hey You,” a bona fide hip shaker complete with screeching Velvet Underground-style guitar solos, Songs fully delivers with four smart, memorable pop songs straight from the paisley underground. “Soap” offers some heady folk punk, where “A Bigger Splash” lays back for some lackadaisical summer fare complimented by a shuffling beat, hopping organ and distorted wah-wah guitar fills. “Sandpit” closes with an angry bit of sneering garage punk that perfectly encapsulates a young man’s frustration in the span of two minutes.

Maybe it’s a one-off, maybe it’s the beginning of a series of fruitful collaborations. Either way, Songs stands out as a high point in the collective discographies of those involved, making us all hope that there will be more of The Safe Distance in the future.


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.

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Emotional Response at The Sunday Experience

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.