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August 1, 2006

{     Sinks of Gandy - Trust=Damage     } when the words "indie rock" used to mean something? I'm reaching back a bit here, pre trucker-hat, to a time in which punchy emotionally-driven rock-and-roll didn't have a home in the mainstream, when to call a band "indie" was to imply some actual independence, either in their sound, their approach to production and distribution or in their basic philosophy of rock. Russ Fox remembers those days, and "Trust=Damage" is as much a loveletter to the Golden Age of Indie as it is a step forward into newly-discovered sonic territory. Recording under the moniker Sinks of Gandy, and enlisting help from longtime friend Matt Gingerich along with various other friends and cohorts along the way, Fox has crafted an album rich with personal influence and emotional energy, yet equally full of brilliantly poppy hooks and sing-along choruses. The opener "Thought We'd Start" builds a nice shoegazer-shuffle around a hugely catchy chorus, threaded through with synth-organ melody. It's a fairly uncomplicated background for some rather intimate lyrics, a duality present elsewhere on the album ("Baggage", " When It's Over" and "This Song"), where bright corners of chunky guitar pop are brought into sharper relief by shades of strong personal insight. My favorite tune at the moment is "Wholly Generic", with it's Dinosaur Jr-on-speed chops, snarky lyrics and machine-gun drumming. Stewart Anderson (of Boyracer fame) guest-spots on lead vocals here, and he's dead-on with the delivery, grafting reedy, almost lilting, melodies to the lead guitar-line. It's an irresistible two minutes and sixteen seconds. This track is followed up with the album's only cover, a rather brilliant rendition of the Screaming Trees' "Story of Her Fate". I say brilliant because Fox is able to simultaneously pay homage to the sludgey original while also acknowledging that it's better cast as a 90's indie-rock classic than a forgotten grunge B-side, emphasizing that the Trees were always way more Superchunk than Grunttruck at heart. Other influences are apparent in "Medication", which had me reaching for a little Sunny Day Real Estate and The Poster Children as a chaser. The swirly near-delirious guitar is punctuated by a driving beat and one of the strongest vocal choruses on the album. It's fun and kicky, setting the stage for the final tracks. The closer, "Pressing Scars On You", is easily the prettiest song I've heard in some time, a delicately paced and well-polished blending of unique sounds and textures, laced with bittersweet lyrics. It's definitely mixtape material, sure to strum the heartstrings of all who hear it and a perfect way to end things here, echoing the sentiment of the album's title while intimating that not all hope is lost. You can listen to four of the album's tracks on their MySpace page and feel free to pop over to the other links below to purchase a copy.

     » Sinks of Gandy on MySpace
     » Tiberius Records
     » Buy "Trust=Damage"


The Sinks of Gandy is an area in Randolph County, West Virginia where a river carved a hole in the earth creating a cave that the river now flows into. The area is privately owned but is still visited by tourists and cavemen the world over.

Posted by: Aaron at August 3, 2006 4:27 AM

one of the few things my edgeu-mah-cation in buckhannon earnt me was the ability to visit such areas. canaan valley, seneca rocks, spruce knob and blackwater falls (not to mention orwig's "kamp") were all quite near. for this reason, i shall be taking your word on this here record and checkin' it out tomorrow.

completely unrelated, the new slayer album - opinions?

Posted by: carter at August 10, 2006 7:28 AM

...which reminds me of another band named after a place in west-by god... sam black church. had a couple buddies in school from boston and cleveland who loved those dudes.

Posted by: carter at August 10, 2006 7:31 AM
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