Slum Summer: ABABO  CD   (Jigsaw Records)

Release date: January 18, 2019

Bio: Slum Summer is a San Diego based indie rock/pop band, formed in 2016 by two British and two American musicians. A special relationship: a special new band.

Hugh J Noble (guitar/vocals) grew up in the village of Wymeswold in England where he played drums in an early incarnation of The Wave Pictures (Moshi Moshi Records), before moving on to writing and recording his own songs, self-releasing several records and touring in the UK and USA under various names, pretending to be a band but always lacking the get up and go to actually form one. On moving to San Diego, he decided to get up and go and actually do it at last, and set about the laborious and occasionally terrifying process of weeding through all the weirdos on Craigslist to find the closest thing to normal that was out there: Slum Summer! DJ Anderson on drums, Jen Edwards on guitar, and Scotland’s own Grant Stewart on bass, all occasionally joining in on backing vocals when they’re feeling extra boisterous. The band was drawn together by their overlapping areas of musical influence, and their relationship deepened as they developed their mutual love for taking long drinks breaks when they’re supposed to be rehearsing. In two uncharacteristic bursts of decisiveness, they whittled down Hugh’s list of 318 suggested band names to decide on Slum Summer, then pared down the almost 318 songs he had written to the handful which make up this, their debut album.

The band self-recorded "ABABO" over a weekend at San Diego’s Ursa Polaris studio, with some extra recording done at different members’ homes over the following weeks. The album is a fair representation of Slum Summer’s musical interests, with the band utilizing different approaches to underpin Noble’s abstruse story-telling lyrics, thick with obscure references. Across the record you can hear them drawing from the same headwaters that fed the alternate-reality pop hits of Alien Lanes-era Guided By Voices, the slack romanticism of Pavement, the headlong rush of Boyracer, the noisy melodicism of The Clean and their Dunedin cohort, and the brooding folk- and classic-rock inflected works of Jason Molina. You may also detect knowingly inexact attempts to reach at different times for both the menacing crunch of early Black Sabbath and the tender balladry of Jackson Browne.