Today’s Sounds: Chairs

A new record by local act Chairs, led by Ian Jarvis, plus a new track by fake Frenchman Benoît Pioulard and the funniest video of the week by played grime guy Dizzee Rascal.


Chairs, The Droning of an Insect Wing (independent)

As a member of fellow local EXPWY’s band, Ian Jarvis is used to combining catchy with lo-fi. The difference is, with his own outfit Chairs, there are neither bossa nova excursions nor a prolific output floating around online (as is the case with EXPWY). So despite a similar sensibility and use of traditional rock chords, the two projects don’t have as much in common as one would think.

Chairs’ second record is one of those albums that’s easy to slip into right from the get-go, but it’s hardly background music — it also has an uncanny way of shocking you from complacency at just the right times.

Certainly, lo-fi rock albums are a dime a dozen these days, and The Droning of an Insect Wing doesn’t make any overt attempts to differentiate itself, so it’s reliant on songwriting to get the job done, which is fortunately where Jarvis excels. Two album highlights, opener “Indestructible Machine” and “Sifting Through Debris,” aren’t even all that representative of the disc, as the former is underpinned with steady, thunderous percussion, while the second is a lean, mean sub-two-minute pop tune with an immediately memorable chorus. The rest of the album is more reliant on soothing string-plucking and vaguely post-apocalyptic lyrics. One should probably stop short of calling it a dystopian record altogether, but the all the ghostly reverb and tinny percussion invite the suggestion.

Chairs will be playing with Year of Glad at Casa del Popolo on Feb. 10.


Benoît Pioulard, “Margin”

Experimental lo-fi folkie Benoît Pioulard (a fake Frenchman — he was born in Michigan, lives in England and is actually named Thomas Meluch) brings enough fuzzy texture to this jangly bit of melancholy tuneage that you could easily fall back into it. His fourth album, Hymnal, was released by Kranky this week; he plays Casa del Popolo on March 28.



Dizzee Rascal, “Bassline Junkie”

If you’ve lost track of U.K. grime ambassador Dizzee Rascal in recent years, don’t worry — you  haven’t missed much. But this might be the funniest thing you’ll see all week.

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