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Rat Columns

Idioma disponible: inglés
Rat Columns is the guitar-heavy, indie pop branch of operations for the very busy David West. His other bands have ranged from hardcore punk to new age-y synthesizer music; here he leans into song-based, jangle-meets-fuzz sounds and shows his usual mastery over the form. The band's early records were drenched in distortion and showed a large debt to Dinosaur Jr., but by the time of 2021’s mostly pristine Pacific Kiss, West had refined the group's approach to something that wouldn't sound out of place on the noisier outskirts of the Sarah Records discography. Apart from heading up Rat Columns, West's résumé includes membership in the noise-rock band Total Control, punk group Burning Sensations, angular post-punkers Rank/Xerox, and electro-pop group Lace Curtains. He's also released records under his own name and as Liberation. Rat Columns serves as the outlet for his poppiest, most lightweight songs, sitting somewhere between a more freewheeling Belle and Sebastian and peak-period Dinosaur Jr. if they jangled instead of rocked. The first Rat Columns record, a self-titled 7", was issued in 2011 and was followed by the Sceptre Hole album the next year. Along with West on vocals and guitars, the band also featured Matt Bleyle on drums and Jonathan Young on guitar, keys, and vocals. The next couple years were dominated by other projects, which meant the next Rat Columns records didn't come out until 2014 when the "Stay" single and Kelley Stoltz-produced Leaf album were both released. By this time, ex-Eddy Current Suppression Ring member (and West's Total Control bandmate) Mikey Young was helping out on keyboards and percussion. The group returned in 2015 with two EPs, Do You Remember Real Pain? and Fooling Around. The band's lineup had shifted by the time recording for the next album commenced, and joining West were keyboardist Louis Hooper, bassist/vocalist Amber Gempton, and drummer Chris Cobilis. Sessions in the small Perth suburb of Guildford yielded the second Rat Columns album, which blended the indie pop of earlier recordings with some disco and gentle experimentalism. Candle Power was released in March of 2017 by Upset the Rhythm. West turned his attention to other projects, releasing two albums of synthesizer intrumentals under the name Scythe in 2019, and a volume of electro-pop under his Liberation banner in 2020. When Rat Columns returned, the lineup had changed. West was joined by bassist Max Schneider-Schumacher, drummer Dylan Stjepovic, and keyboardist Joey Fishman for recording sessions in Brooklyn. From there, the results went to Perth, where further sessions took place. Amber Gempton and Raven Mahon (of the Green Child) contributed vocals, Jef Brown added saxophone, and Mikey Young mixed the album (and played some of the guitar solos while doing so.) Pacific Kiss was issued in early 2021 and is the band's cleanest, most melodic record to date.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo
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