Spray Paint – s/t LP (S-S)

Austin rockers from a few other bands (When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, Dikes of Holland) deliver on their LP for S-S, following two 7”s. I’m not certain if it was because of the scarcity or the demand – people liking this stuff and needing to own it, or the shreds of the market-driven vinyl speculator, now confined to Record Store Day and pre-order miseries – but both Spray Paint 7”s vanished quickly. I don’t much follow anything that S-S does anymore, apart from a newsletter that comes through my inbox wherein Scott Soriano tells the world how poorly everything is going for his label. Join the club! I used to get S-S records to review because I bought things of interest that he was selling, but since we both pretty much receive the same records now I don’t often, if ever, need to do that, and he decided that it wasn’t worth the press I might give him anymore to submit records to Still Single (that or more likely some other ethical debates we’ve been on opposite ends of, which has generated a tension that no one wants to address directly). I have also read what Scott thinks of my writing, and assuming that his stance hasn’t changed, this is more about his expectations of me than mine of him.

Scott’s not the only one who stopped sending in physical releases; I lost the Siltbreeze account last year (which is understandable and has been explained, no hard feelings whatsoever), along with a number of others who’ve decided to give up on the possibilities of having their music evaluated by the team over here. The crux of the issue is that how we learn about records today is complicated by there being far too many out now trying to play the game of five-six years past; too many bands deciding that 300 copies of whatever they’ve come up with is a suitable figure, who then sell like 50 of them, give the music away on a Bandcamp and find that the combination of not-so-greatness and ubiquity of performers in their very shoes have contributed to the glut of unmarketable product. It used to be that I really needed to be on the ball with covering new records, and sometimes I still am, but some other yob is going to get to it before I do (and likely gush all over it, further devaluing the status of opinions for whatever perceived psychic reward comes after essentially doing something for nothing). While it’s gotten no less enjoyable to discover new music – somehow, I’ve avoided complete burnout, thanks to people still doing it well – the race to be first has turned into a race for the bottom, as everyone is carrying the same records to the point of market saturation, there’s far too much interference from the sidelines, and it’s become a lot less exciting to chase things down. Anyone else remember this happening in 1996? Great music is getting lost in the shuffle more than ever before, and it’s being manufactured almost to appease its makers that it should exist, just because so much bad shit is out there, vying for our attention and money, that to make it so becomes an entitlement in and of itself. And with the cost of overseas postage skyrocketing, we can all expect things to get a lot worse. Now who’s got the bad news?

This vinyl edition of Spray Paint’s album came from within the band, which is why it’s being covered here. I was not a fan of their 7”s – there’s only so many ways you can frame the semantics of the trebly two-guitar/no-bass rock trio, and the Urinals covered most of them, even with a bass – and was hoping for a better impression here. I got it, I suppose: the first three tracks on this record are a good bit of fun, rancorous males stomping around on the shaky floorboards of post-punk/DIY rattle. After that, I forgot I was listening to a record and just sort of went on about my day. This happened several times in my attempts to evaluate Spray Paint’s music, so either it’s all me, or it’s all them. What really seems to be happening here is these guys bumping their heads on the low ceiling they’ve created for themselves, repeatedly; there’s not a whole lot of personality or room to breathe in their sound, despite how hollow it rings due to the lack of low end, or moreover the sense of what to do within the confines of their lineup. Spray Paint doesn’t really achieve greatness or uniqueness here, and at this point those aren’t even qualities that would shut out a new band from an overall greatness that reaches beyond their limits. They play up the monotony and self-satisfaction rather than the ideas or their execution, and wind up defeating themselves. I doubt that’s what’s going to move 500 copies of this, but I’m ready to be surprised. If only there were less bands and labels out there! (
(Doug Mosurock)

  1. still-single posted this