Mevius

"Subversive To Care" comp released to benefit AAPI communities

In today’s fast-paced modern era of music streaming and profligate playlist making (not to mention Twitch DJing and all the other means of assembling original musical mixes) the notion of an old-school compilation album (or “comp”) may seem hopelessly out of date. But comps can still be wonderful things, and Subversive To Care (referred to as Sub2Care forthwith), which has been released to coincide with the launch of Paul Is Dead Records, checks off many of the boxes that make them good things.



For one thing, comps are often assembled to raise money for charitable/activist organizations and this one fits the bill with proceeds going to several AAPI organizations—The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (www.NAPAWF.org), Asian Mental Health Collective (www.ASIANMHC.org) and The Tibet Fund (www.TIBETFUND.org)—in response to alarming levels of hate crimes and ongoing struggles against prejudice against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

What’s more, a good comp is a great way to discover new music and new artists without having to continually troll Spotify’s Teen Beats playlist (granted, SyKo’s “#BrooklynBloodPop!” has its pleasures). And with 60 original songs by the original artists Sub2Care should keep you occupied for a while as you make your way from the start (Wake Up’s “Hurricane” in exclusive demo form; the band is pictured above) to the finish (Squires’ “Tombstoning”) so you basically have got a conceptual theme here of moving from wakefulness to the Big Sleep—not that you can’t skip around within and between individual tracks which is another one of the nice things about comps. They’re basically sampler platters in musical form.

Sub2Care was put together by the new LA-based label Paul Is Dead Records (with satellite offices in New York and Wisconsin apparently) and is likely named either after the notorious Beatles urban legend, or the recent death of Paul Van Doren, patriarch of the Van’s sneaker empire. And while LA artists predominate on the comp (speaking of Vans some of these LA artists no doubt look a lot like Jeff Spicoli or perhaps Phoebe Cates) there’s also a decent number from other locales including New York/New Jersey like Frankie Rose, New Myths, Mevius, Dahl Haus, CITYGIRL, Skyler Skjelset (Fleet Foxes), The Natvral (Kip Berman from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart), and Shana Falana (featuring Shana Falana).

Across musical history, comps have occasionally played a key role in defining the sound of a nascent genre or a new record label—like the Lenny Kaye-compiled Nuggets (1972) that set an early template for punk rock, or the 1988 Sub Pop 200 comp that was a who’s who of future grunge all-stars—and while Sub2Care isn’t strictly speaking a “label comp” since it’s made up of tracks donated by “artists who are close friends and family members of our label” quoting label head and co-founder Evan Mui, it’s still got a certain vibe or aesthetic, if you will, while being pretty darn eclectic at the same time.

I would prospectively call this vibe or aesthetic Twilight Music. By Twilight Music I mean songs that’ve got a certain hazy/dreamy/slightly off-kilter quality whether they’re upbeat or downbeat or mid-beat. And in this way it’s good music for putting on around twilight say when you’re pregaming for a Saturday night out (tracks #13 and 14 are two good examples: Smirk’s “Do You?” and Eternal Summers' “Belong”) or waking up Sunday morning trying to recall what happened the previous night (rewind to tracks #10-12: Four Dots’ “I Left My Heart Pump In San Francisco,” D.A. Stern’s “Funky Holocaust (Drunk Demo),” and Big Nitty’s “Chemical Plant”) or songs that fit equally well for either scenario (for example, tracks 32-34: Dahl Haus’ “Silhouettes and Alibis,” Black Needle Noise’s “And Nothing Remains,” Built Like Alaska’s “Ran Into A Coroner").

So throw a few bucks in the Bandcamp bin for Paul Is Dead Records if you like what you hear. And in return you may discover a new favorite artists or two--whether one of the ones mentioned/displayed here or some other deserving object of your musical admiration. (Jason Lee)









 




   

Mevius gets "Washed Out"

Released exactly one minute before midnight on December 31, 2020, the opening moments of the opening track “Washed Out” on Meviu§’s latest EP, Washed Out, is the perfect soundtrack for the way I remember feeling at that precise time--sitting at home by myself with “hands tied behind my back / and face down on the floor.” Well, figuratively *ahem*. It’s been a strange couple of months or couple of years. Wait, what day is it? Oh yeah it’s Bandcamp Friday Day™ which means that it’ll not only cost you a mere pittance to buy the Meviu§ EP, but also that the entire pittance will go straight into the hot pockets of Meviu§ which'll help him be able to buy an actual Hot Pocket™ and avoid starvation for another day. As of the time of writing you've got about five-and-a-half hours left so go buy it now!

OK back to those opening moments of “Washed Out” and the slowly-unfurling echoey guitar arpeggio whose notes fold back in on themselves and suck you, the listener, into a swirling sonic vortex that serves as the perfect launching pad for the rest of the song with its somehow both driving and turgid guitar work & rhythm section in the instrumental parts and stripped down verses and catchy melodic choruses. It’s a Cure-worthy opening, and song overall, especially if you’re into Disintegration and Wish era Cure back when the mascara-smudged Camus-quoting Friday-loving gothsters managed to have a couple bonafide pop-chart hits here in the US which is pretty crazy when you think about it now. And on this note it bears pointing out how Meviu§ has a similar grasp of combining catchy tunes with serious “in your feels” feels.

But, hey you, I wonder why Robert Smith & Friends loved Friday so much? I thought these boys were supposed to be sad. Well duh because it's Bandcamp Friday™ in case you already forgot! I mean sure Bandcamp wasn’t even close to existing yet in 1992 but obviously The Cure had a premonition, which is pretty impressive considering how just about every GeoCities-induced psychedelic headtrip of a web site during those years looked as if the entire cast of Saved By The Bell had just projectile vomited on your monitor screen (RIP Dustin Diamond) creating a big mess of neon backdrops and spinning icons and animated-and-sometimes-flaming text. and how in this world could you ever order something so pragmatic as vinyl records, or these new things called em-pee-threes, on these strange primitive machines but I digress.

 
Anyway I didn’t mean to imply that the entire Meviu§ EP sounds like the Cure because it doesn’t. In fact it’s got a pretty wide stylistic range for just four songs. Track number two “Find You” features Edith Pop on co-vocals and it’s a nice downbeat acoustic ballad that’ll have you weeping in your kombucha with its aching harmonies and doleful sentiments. Up next is “Ghost of Memory (Ghost Stories Remix)” which at times reminds me of Moon Safari era Air but just when you think Kelly Better Keep Watching Those Stars there’s suddenly an Aphex Twin-y breakdown so hey you never know. And then on track number four the EP wraps up with “Maybe Next Year (featuring Searmanas)” but specifically in the form of the “Jeremy Bastard Remix” although I hear that really he’s just misunderstood. This closer features an immersive darkwave groove and some more female-to-male harmonizing from the aforementioned Searmanas and it's truly an apropos song title and musical vibe to go out on. But maybe just maybe if we’re all lucky next year will come before next year. (Jason Lee)