Before I spoke in riddles, I was worried someone would hear me

If you’ve ever lived next door to a neighbour who plays loud music through the night, these distraught lines will probably make you prick up your ears:

Hey buddy hey,
Hey buddy please,
Would you quiet down?
You kill me,
It’s 2AM,
I’m trying to sleep

Thee More Shallows

Not very rock’n’roll, I know, but something in the tone, combined with the unsettling toy piano riff, grabbed my attention. Thee More Shallows are from San Francisco and seem to specialise in tense, whispered vocals over a taught, edgy backdrop of sound. What I like about “2AM” though is that having started with this fairly paranoid, anguished narrative, they take it off somewhere else, and do something completely different with it.

You start to wonder who’s making that noise if I’m up here all alone…

Thee More Shallows are another in a growing line of bands that are new to me, but which have been around for a good while. They already have a fair old following online, including a Wikipedia entry, which you can read now to get up to speed. (I probably should do the same…).

They have had spells with two labels I’ve been haunting for a while (Turn recordings and Monotreme), and are now signed to Anticon, with a third album out this year, Book of Bad Breaks. Singer and band leader Dee Kesler delivers his anxious, thoughtful vocals in little more than a murmur at times and I have a feeling the line I’ve lifted from “Freshman Thesis” for the headline here continues to be relevant to all his songs.

A further trawl round the Monotreme site reveals that TMS also appear on an album by label mate Ral Partha Vogelbacher, some of the tracks of which you can listen to here. I don’t think they’re quite as good, but still worth a listen once you’ve snagged the ones here.

All in all there are a few tracks available online, including a pretty cool version of the Temptations “Can’t Get Next to You”, but I’ve gone for the two tracks that hooked me most, plus “Knight at the Night School” from this year’s album.

2am

Freshman Thesis

Knight at the Night School

btw the Anticon, Turn and Monotreme sites are both worth visiting for other downloads and some interesting bands. I’ll probably be paying another visit…

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