June Singles Round-Up, Part 2
by Kevin J. Elliott

As promised, I delve a little deeper into the never-ending pile of singles. This batch is even more random and uninformed than last week. I intend on keeping up the monthly round-up as previously programmed and using the remaining two weeks for album features and interviews with your favorite Primitive Futures audience. So please, if you enjoy, and you make music, please send it our way.

The Whines, “Shootinhead” (Mtn. St. Mtn.)
Finally saw the Whines. This Portland-based trio has long been a favorite on the site and experiencing their sweetly brutal tunes live was like a cold rush of blood to the brain. In this setting, they sounded like Royal Trux gone triple-shoegaze, post-grunge psych-drool. It was drama club undie-rock. I was not sure if this was just acting miserable or real life bummer—it worked either way. Slowly but surely they are progressing, as this 7-inch proves. These are still basement jams, but “Shootinhead” has a delicate pop frame. For now, it’s the group’s “Gigantic” moment. Karianne is completely honey-voiced, swaying in the ’50s prom ballroom lodged in her subconscious. She’s wholly unaware as the gnarliest of endless grooves melts around her coos. “Straybird,” the B-side, keeps that pattern and tends to nod slightly too long, but that’s what you should expect and appreciate with this band. A perfect summer platter for those of us who enjoy sun-stroked Dino Jr. cassettes with the ghost of Hagerty noodling new junkie overdubs.

Hiking, “Trenches” (X-Mist)
The sticker says “featuring member of Bad Dudes, Bipolar Bear, Turkks and Silver Daggers.” My first thought is that this is a C-list supergroup of ugly-core riff-rock. Do those bands sound destructive and aggressive? I have no idea. Together there’s nothing that punishing or offensive about Hiking. I was expecting ugly, but then the mathematic trills and polyrhythm had me digging for my best Don Caballero joke. Thank goodness about 45 seconds into “Trenches” they finally started singing as I’m not down with instrumental equations. But that led to thoughts that these guys were either raised on mall punk or Seaweed. Hopefully neither, because I’ll theorize both were one in the same. For the time and thought and art that went into Hiking’s debut 7-inch, I put my promise ring back on and played along. By the time “Bikin Atol” comes barreling in, though, I’m really wishing the band was dumber, much less aware and with blunt edges. Besides that, there are just too many points of prog-metal reference to pick apart here, but there’s hope as they seem to know their debts. At best this is for those of us who might pine for C Average or Godheadsilo more than once an autumn. Then again you can likely find those records for cheap.

Cold Showers, Highlands EP (Mexican Summer)
The Los Angeles quartet Cold Showers broadcast a transmission that they’ve long bathed in the rays of the distinct California light. Though with this little debut entry into the jangly, dream-pop party, their environment is forgiven as it’s in their blood from the start. Cold Showers are neither fashionably late, nor crashing this soiree. Instead they behave like passive wallflowers and that naivete suits them. “I Don’t Mind” is Strokes-lite, but I think that’s exactly what we need more of in the summer. Still, they’re dyed in post-punk and shallow psych splashes that create a welcomed disorienting spatiality. The song’s biggest strength, though, is the gracefully catchy hook. It’s a memorable chorus that doesn’t pretend it should be memorable. There is nothing blatant about Cold Showers. They deal strictly in subtlety. The B-side, “Near Burn,” puts muscle into their balance of beauty and black hues. Again with the ambiguity, but theirs is a sheen that is refreshing. The only thing that worries me is that a band this green shouldn’t surprise you if they told you they’ve never heard of Suicide.