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Alternative & Indie - Released June 19, 2020 | Ernest Jenning Record Co.

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Rock - Released March 25, 2020 | Ernest Jenning Record Co.

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Rock - Released June 10, 2020 | Ernest Jenning Record Co.

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Rock - Released May 14, 2020 | Ernest Jenning Record Co.

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 1, 2008 | Hello Sir Records

The appeal of a live-in-the-studio recording to rock bands has long been something fetishized by both creators and audience -- the idea being that one gets the "real" sense of the band without having to worry about minor details like beer spilled on one's crotch or some sweaty guy going "yeah bro" in one's ear. (Then again, people might fetishize about that too.) On their 2008 album Dirty Versions, We Versus the Shark take that approach on a set of songs that wears all the signifiers properly (loud, garagey, thrashed) but throws in a careful restraint and love of textures at points (check the feedback during the quiet moments of "I Am the President of the World") that makes them come across as the more straightforward cousins of, say, Brainiac. They're nowhere near as crazily wired and weird, despite having a nice line in gang-shout screams and wails, but song titles like "I Am the Contempt Machine" aren't too far removed from "I Am a Cracked Machine," while the prominence of the bass and the choppy guitar squeals on "Mr. Ego Death" add to the ghost of the ghost of the post-punk feeling at work without sounding like Yet Another Interpol Clone. Hearing moments where a more scraggly vocal rubs up against the cleaner, stranger feeling of those guitar parts, such as "Dogs," and the back and forth between vocalists Samantha Paulsen and Luke Fields on the brilliant "Gothic Y'All" (opening line: "All the kids were mortified by my dusty gray skull"), plus the keyboard break, is some kind of new wave brilliance refiltered for a new century. © Ned Raggett /TiVo