January 2, 2013

Seven Things We Love About The Newly Posted Demos For Varsity Drag's 2009 Set Night Owls

Varsity Drag -- Night Owls demos

More delicious spoils appeared on Soundcloud this morning, barely 12 hours after we sang the praises of the web site and its burgeoning aural treasure trove in our post last night. Anyway, below we have embedded a stream of the original basement demos to Varsity Drag's splendid 2009 full-length Night Owls. Long-time readers will recall we liked this record very much, and if you weren't an adherent to Clicky Clicky lo those many years ago, have a look-see at our review right here. Perhaps the demos aren't necessarily revelatory in the lightbulb-over-the-head sense, but it is remarkable how well-developed the songs are, and how great the recordings are considering the modest set-up Mr. Deily describes here. There's a lot of power and texture here, and in some ways the demos have more of each than the final, finished product. The occasion for the posting of these demos is to serve as a bit of a "hey, listen to this while we finish some new stuff we're working on," which is just fine by us -- four years between full-lengths is just too damn long, guys. Anyway, we made some non-comprehensive notes as we listened earlier today, and we present them in list form and in all their unvarnished glory below. Catch the stream at the foot of the post; the properly recorded version of Night Owls is available for streaming and purchase right here.
1. The articulated, spectral and somewhat burbling backing vocals and harmonies in "Animals," particularly the chorus. And how the demo just falls off a cliff, as if the tape spun loose from the reel. Well, we just listened again before posting this piece, and it sounds like the MP3 has been fixed/replaced with a more complete take, so scratch that stuff about spectral, burbling, tape spinning loose, etc.
2. More spectral backing vocals on this version of "Night Owls," carving previously unheard melodies, particularly in the song's final moments.
3. The dense wall of electric guitar in the verse of "In This World," the slap-backed harmonies with the lilt at the end of each line, and the unhinged, bending electric guitar as the song emerges from the bridge.
4. The wonderfully overstated metal crunch of the rhythm guitar in "Long Way Home," and the shimmer and waver of the guitars as they fade behind the final cymbal crash.
5. The fun and surprisingly pretty, tossed-off electric guitar leading into the bridge of "Richard's Gone."
6. The gently chorused guitar at the opening of "Galaxies," the crunchy rhythm guitar in the second verse, and the subtle synth line beautifully buttressing the song's final choruses.
7. Deily's voice trailing off at the end of the second line of "Morning."

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