A Journal Of The Dark Arts
“Bother”, the debut single from husband-and-wife duo bed., comprised of Alex Haager and his wife Sierra, who also helm Breakup Records, is a noise-pop paean to broken relationships of every kind.
I received a note a few weeks ago, from Alex, sending me a promo for his new band and single. As i’ve said this before (and don’t take this personally, out there, nor let it deter you), but i always experience a feeling of trepidation when i get unsolicited records for perusal, as it is my least favorite part of my avocation to inform someone i despise their band, nor do i hope or intend to play any part in the hype machine. I report only on what i find, my own opinions, as a service to the Holy Angel of Music, the people who make it, and for personal betterment, as an attempt to hone my hearing and sharpen my discursive claws.
Seeing some passing mention to the band of Scottish misanthropes The Delgados helped ease my worries, and then noticing Breakup Records is now stationed out of my hometown of Portland, Or. eased them further still, and i began to have the sensation that this is a band that i would actually LIKE TO LISTEN TO and write about. That’s been one of the most satisfying aspects of this project, is how often likeminded people find their way into this mouldering estate, and how often talented and inspiring music is actually foisted into my paws.
“Bother” is another example of how their is much more than folk revisionists and techno-hippies living in this town. Instead, “Bother” is a nugget of bubblegum pop, slathered beneath layers of Jesus And Mary Chain dirt and Sonic Youth dissonance. It is built around a simple and deadly effective guitar refrain, with some crunching rhythm guitar and sparse, garage rock drums providing a foundation.
The elements may be simple, but pry the lid off this beauty and you will notice that time and care has gone into its machination – flutters of tremolo, soft cooing male harmonies and backwards vocals.
All of this is presented tastefully, pleasantly blown out. It manages to sound raw, dirty and deranged and glowing, simultaneously. The spell complete, you begin to spiral into the dreamworld of this pairing. You let them take you on a voyage. You empathize. You relate.
“Bother” seems to suggest the feeling of getting in a car and driving away from yr hometown, to find a better life somewhere else. Or at least a different life. The mixture of euphoria, sorrow, anxiety, and reminiscence, as you speed down the turnpike, looking at the terrain through rain-bespotted windows.
Bed. remind us that often, less is more. They strip their music down to its essential components, and build compelling, driving music. It crashes. It lunges. And then it soothes. They are performing the admirable public feat of reminding us that there is more than one kind of psychedelia, a much rich pallet than just tie-dye and paisley. Instead, like another noise-pop band that bed. remind me of, My Bloody Valentine, they seem to shake with all the colors of an autumnal forest, all the colors of a Miami sunset.
Alex and Sierra moved to Portland from San Fransisco, to focus on this band and label. Let’s make it worth their while, show them that this move was a good idea. This town is cheap and funky enough to have a real arts scene, when people surpass ennui and apathy and make it happen.
Bed. have what it takes to make it big! They are worthy of praise, and adulation; yr time and attention and the scant $1 they are charging for admittance.
If you live in Portland, you have a chance to hear the rest of the songs at Rontoms, on 3.23.14, playing with other local favorites Eidolons, as well as Cataldo.
Here’s yr chance to get in on the ground floor. Get into Bed.