listen to a new song from diet cig

photo courtesy of andrew piccone
photo courtesy of andrew piccone

new paltz duo diet cig has already rustled up one of our absolute favorite eps of this year with their debut, over easy, a release soon to be augmented by a new 7″.  “sleep talk” b/w “dinner date” is out jointly via father/daughter and art is hard on september 18th, and today the band let go of its a-side.  like its predecessors, “sleep talk” is simple and concise in construction – although the guitar’s higher end is noticeably more pronounced this time around – a foundation built to support a lyrical set from alex luciano that fluctuates between self-deprecation and hesitancy and a prevailing shoulder-shrugging, fuck-it mentality.  it’s the coda that really sells this track, though; a poignant, cyclical line delivered in half-time quickly becomes a mantra of sorts for all of the preceding fragments.  take a listen to “sleep talk” below.

diet cig – over easy

diet cigdiet cig crams a lot of material into just ten minutes of music.  the new paltz duo is still green and a bit rough around the edges, but that rawness lends itself well to the bevy of emotions contained inside their over easy ep, out today via father/daughter records.

five tracks is just enough space for alex luciano to run the gamut from sarcastic to shameless to sheer loathing.  “breathless” immediately showcases her wit (“i don’t have any kitchenware / but i can walk around in my underwear / in my first apartment / where i pay so much for rent”), and while a murmuring delivery initially suggests a quaint apathy, the true dichotomy of the duo’s dynamic range is unveiled towards the end of the song.  noah bowman’s floor tom-centric drumming may be an underlying condition but luciano’s unabashed wail is the true catalyst of diet cig’s peak volume, her voice clearly piercing through an otherwise-grainy mix.

“scene sick” is the most sonically polished track on over easy, and for good reason: it contains luciano’s most relevant commentary.  besides airing her grievances pertaining to local music scenes, luciano ruthlessly takes an ex to task on “harvard” (“fuck your ivy league sweater” yelled repeatedly might be the best moment on the entire ep) and shows a similar aversion to inflated egos on “cardboard.”

diet cig sets the bar at just the right height with over easy.  the tempo rarely fluctuates from song to song, easily allowing a cohesive enjoyment of the ep and a general understanding of what the duo stands for.  like almost any act dabbling in pop-punk, diet cig does not abstain from poop references (see: “pool boyz”) nor from taking swipes at exes, but the meat of luciano’s lyrical content is so gloriously tongue-in-cheek and ridiculously on-point that those juvenile transgressions are somehow even more amusing in contrast.  new paltz has been an interesting microcosm of the east coast music scene for some time now, and diet cig only adds to the intrigue.  block out twenty minutes for over easy.

7.9/10

quarterbacks – quarterbacks

new paltz trio quarterbacks reëmerged early last year with purpose, releasing their second cassette, sportscenter, via double double whammy.  the follow-up to 2012’s earnest loveseatsportscenter again highlighted dean engle’s vocal quiver and the band’s penchant for frantic, twee-indebted pop tunes that often served their purpose in under ninety seconds.  engle shed his rhythm section later that spring for quarterboy, a largely acoustic addendum that found him reinterpreting cuts from across the band’s brief catalogue while quietly introducing key quarterbacks pillars like “center” and “knicks.”  now, after three years and three self-recorded tascam tapes, quarterbacks have offered up their self-titled full-length album, containing nineteen songs that pass by in a brisk twenty-two minutes.  while none of the tracks are new, they have all been re-recorded and properly mastered for the first time, giving quarterbacks the smidgen of high fidelity they needed to truly pack a punch.

engle’s out-of-tune observations and narrations of a relatively mundane day-to-day existence have long been the main focus of quarterbacks, and they’re nicely framed throughout the self-titled.  the front half of the album mostly pulls from sportscenter and quarterboy, resulting in sharp re-imaginings of last year’s hasty demos and acoustic renditions that feel like logical progressions in the band’s evolution, as if the pair of cassettes were just rough sketches of what was to come.  the earwormy descending melody from “pool” benefits from extra clarity and instrumentation, while the finished version of “knicks” is possibly the best slow burner clocking in at under a minute in recent memory.

the final third of quarterbacks draws exclusively on loveseat, and it’s refreshing to realize the importance of engle’s three-year-old love songs.  he sings old cuts like “never go” and “space” with just as much intimacy and urgency as he does on newer efforts, while the inclusion of “simple songs” underscores the fact that large collections of three-chord, minute-long non-sequiturs are the perfect tools for the band to disseminate their message.

for quarterbacks, the trio enlisted the production help of kyle gilbride, who has molded the sound of philadelphia bands like waxahatchee, radiator hospital, and swearin’ over the past few years.  while adhering to the live-take aesthetic of quarterbacks’ previous work, gilbride also managed to tweak the nuances of tom christie’s bass playing (see “not in luv” and “last boy” in particular) while simultaneously capturing max restaino’s perfect subdivisions.  a comparison to cloud nothings’ jayson gerycz is warranted – at the very least in terms of accuracy and intensity – but restaino supplies that intensity without overpowering the rest of the quarterboys, an integral component of the band’s light-footed sound.

it’s momentarily disappointing that quarterbacks doesn’t offer even a taste of new material, but that doesn’t detract from the album’s overall quality.  a whip-smart collection of nineteen songs, quarterbacks is the perfect vessel to deliver its namesake to a wider audience.

7.6/10

listen to a new song from diet cig

photo courtesy of andrew piccone
photo courtesy of andrew piccone

new paltz duo diet cig drop their debut ep, over easy, next month via father/daughter records, and they’ve roared back into focus with their latest single.  “harvard” is a two-minute bitter middle finger directed at a nameless ex-boyfriend, culminating in alex luciano screaming “fuck your ivy league sweater / you know i was better” repeatedly until the song exhausts itself.  take a listen to the track below.

listen to a new song from diet cig

if you missed the diet cig party this week, now’s your chance to get all caught up.  alex luciano and noah bowman have been honing a twee-infused craft of solid garage rock up in new paltz, surrounding themselves with folks that have contributed to bands like lvl up, porches., and site favorites quarterbacks.  the duo is offering up their over easy ep on february 24th via father/daughter records and recently shared their debut single, “scene sick,” a two-minute anthem of apathy supercharged by bowman’s drumming and an extremely catchy, surprising outro.  blink and you’ll miss it.  with “scene sick” obviously just scraping at the levels of emotion diet cig is capable of dissecting and conveying, over easy has suddenly become one of this winter’s hottest commodities.  familiarize yourself below.