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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).

Untitled (CD-R)

Some stats about Alcester, South Dakota:

Zip Code: 57001
Population: approximately 900
Amount of land area: 0.831 sq. kilometers
Amount of surface water: 0 sq kilometers
Best known historic place: Hyden House
Best unsigned band: Daytrader

Ok, so the Shmat hasn't actually BEEN to Alcester (he's only been to the usual tourist traps like the Mt. Rushmore area) to see if there's any indie music scene so he certainly is no judge of the best unsigned band in that area. But the Daytrader demo he got in the mail is definitely good and is a sturdy first document of two South Dakotans in their quest to find their musical voice. Now, Shmat knows from their bio that the band members Eamonn and Trace might not want to be compared directly to particular artists. It's strange, it seems that nearly every demo's press sheet that he receives comes armed with such a request to be separated from certain artists. Shmat understands not wanting to be pigeonholed. But how in shmat will people who've never heard their stuff know what they sound like from reading about them then? (Well, there are actually MP3s on their site he'll admit... ) So apologies in advance, boys, for any musical associations.

To the list of artists in their bio that they've gotten comparisons to (Elliott Smith, Grandaddy, Wilco) the Shmat would like to add that there's a hint of the stark worlds of Hayden here in the mix. The first song is a really excellent folk strummer with a semi-droning quality that reminds Shmat slightly of "Stem" off of Hayden's Everything I Long For. The jump from that first standard folk song to the highly delineated TR808 type box beats of the next song is what is going to lead a lot of people to make the mental leap astray toward Grandaddy's folk n' electronic wizardry. And indeed Trace does sound a bit like Jason Lytle here, but still this is a pretty interesting song and Shmat was happy with the choice of both instruments and chords in it.

A phone's busy signal or alarm provides an intro into the next track, and as if in warning, Shmat thought at first that the slightly offkey vocals didn't work as well in this song as in the first one. The Shmat has been on a Pedro the Lion kick again and he thought he heard some similarities in the structure of this track to that band. In "No Place to Go", a folk pop tune with more standard drums, Eamonn's voice makes an appearance in the middle of the track and the contrast of his lower register plus Trace's higher voice really worked well.

In this world of countless mediocre (and sometimes even horrid) demos, Daytrader proved to be an extremely pleasant change of pace, and the Shmat would be interested to see how their upcoming full length album turns out.

- review by SHMAT (7.25.03)        


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