Self and Other is a New Paltz indie rock band who just released a self-titled cassette EP through Sad Cactus Records. It’s mostly the recording project of Jeremy Tinn, who has led a sort of ‘revolving-door’ recording effort with various musicians in an effort to promote introspection and acceptance. Take a listen!
This EP is ripe with the sort of garage grunge that has become so idiosyncratically East Coast in the past ten years. This is music that young suburban people will blast from affordable sedans as they smoke cigarettes on the way to day jobs, or so I imagine (or, as the album artwork suggests, as they brush their teeth in the morning and get used to the necessities of existence). The production isn’t particularly elaborate; we get a complete sonic picture, no complaints about lack of fullness or bass or anything, but it’s rare that we’ll hear more than one guitar layer than would be included in a live take. “No Name” begins with a pleasant stream of ambient sound which is interrupted at the forty-seven-second mark by an abrupt guitar riff followed by a fairly traditional punk-rock verse with very aurally pleasing lead guitar lines. After a chorus passes by, the band drops out again for a really slow build-up alongside what sounds like radio static. It’s really nice when a band knows how to play quietly, you know? Variety is the spice of life. Speaking of which, we’re treated to several rhythmic change-ups before the song fades out – quite a diverse four minutes!
“Feeding the Wrong Wolf” blah blah
“Paper Tiger” is a really nice change-up from the feels of the first two songs, with a sort of driving and legato guitar rhythm at its core. Plucky guitars and powerfully-delivered vocals (not to mention well-written lyrics) win me over pretty quickly on this one. I’ll just paste ’em – you can listen for yourself.
And we’re still doing it, screaming “call on me, colony, I am any mouth”
Caught our teeth cutting our seams on a paper tiger’s trick
It’s just a trick
Like flotsam on the river, I surrender to history
“I am any mouth”
No, I’m every mouth
“Small Wins” is about singular consciousness and daily life – the difficulties of “bending” one’s will “around the will of another’s” and “liv[ing] alone” are remarked upon alnogside a beat and vocal melody which reminds me pretty strongly of that one Silversun Pickups song, though it’s a fair bit more hectic. All in all, this quick-and-dirty 4-track cassette is a satisfying and thoughtful listen-through, especially if you’re in search of something to be slightly uplifting when you’re brooding. Only slightly, though. Just enough.