Album review: Young Jesus, “S/T”

by Jon E. Lynch

Young Jesus, “S/T”Available: Friday, Feb. 23, via Saddle Creek Records as an MP3, cassette tape, compact disc, and on (presumably) standard black vinyl LP. Preorder the record direct from the label for a limited-edition green/blue/white tri-colored vinyl version. Be a champion and pick up whichever physical format you prefer from your favorite local independent record store.

You know, it’s somewhat interesting that last week I wrote in large part about Durham, North Carolina-based Merge Records. Interesting because this week’s album is also, similarly, defined to me by the label releasing the physical record. Saddle Creek Records is the label from my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and, like Merge, has built on a certain sonic and DIY aesthetic while putting out independent records from bands such as Cursive, Bright Eyes, The Faint, Big Thief, and Hop Along. I have discussed this in previous reviews, but there is a commonality with record labels like the two mentioned above and Dischord in Washington D.C. or Touch & Go in Chicago, Matador in New York, or Secretly Canadian, or K Records, or Drag City, or SST, or Kill Rock Stars and that, for me, is trust. I have trusted these labels (with varying degrees of success, sure) since I began buying records as a pre-teen.

I gave the Young Jesus a spin based solely on their record label. Old fashioned, maybe, but it has worked for me for years and years and has done so yet again. I know nothing about the band other than being from Los Angeles and they probably have relatively similar taste in music as I do. I hear huge builds of guitar squalls not unlike my favorite shoegaze bands. I bet at least one or more of the four band members hate the genre identifier shoegaze, just as I do. There are sweeping crescendos of art-noise and post-rock. I hear a little Antony Hegarty in the vocal stylings, along with lush instrumentation and ambient found sounds. The third record “S/T” from Young Jesus takes many disparate styles I dig in music to make one solid offering that I’ll likely return to many times over.

Recommended for fans of Slint, My Bloody Valentine, Built to Spill, Yo La Tengo, Guided by Voices, Slowdive, or what used to simply be referred to as indie or independent rock.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]


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