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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Kevin Huelbig, Jr.
Summer Is Over (Cassette Tape)

While the Shmat was frittering away precious reviewing hours trying to fix his cassette player(s) (that's plural, including: broken walkman, busted tape cube, ailing tape deck), indie tape labels like Monotone have soldiered on producing great (if somewhat archaic at times) releases. This particular tape, Kevin Huelbig Jr.'s Summer Is Over, was one of the first tapes to be successfully played without tangles by his "newly appropriated" 80s Aiwa deck. This is a great, folksy release of 8 songs in the vein of East River Pipe and Galaxie 500. And like F.M. Cornog from ERP, Huelbig has a knack for using otherwise cheesy effects such as reverb/echo in such classy way. In his hands, the effects and layering of instruments become folk interpreters that help bring out the best in the tracks; the slight droning guitar chords start to sadly shimmer a bit more than normal and the atmosphere gets pensively rustic.

"Blinded By Nothing" starts of the tape in great shoegazey fashion. A bit of a changeup pitch follows with the superfast guitar strumming and shaker of "Surrounded Me Now", which then leads into the Shmat's favorite tune "Venus". This song features warm acoustic guitar picking bathed in a near-cavernous lo-fi reverb sauce, with Huelbig sometimes harmonizing with himself. A simply, lovely piece that uses drone to good effect. Also, spectacular was the sparse "I Feel So Alone", with quiet harmonies from Emily (of Ricemilk Zine) adding a lot to the track. The tape ends with the epic acoustic strummer "Alone In Bed" which has a riff structure that reminded the Shmat a bit of a My Bloody Valentine song. The Shmat was highly pleased with the beautiful, windswept character of this release. Out on Monotone Recordings.

- review by SHMAT (10.22.04)        

Monotone Records
409 Martin Court
Leonardo, NJ 07737

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