Title: Demo 2021
Release: Tape / Digital
Label: Instant Party Records
Just the other day, after trading some tapes, I was talking to a friend about meeting and connecting with people through music. More specifically, about how record shops used to be gathering places for nerds and misfits alike, how in those places you could talk and share with friends, acquaintances and new people, including clerks and the shop owners, and how, most of the time, that’s not the case anymore or, at least, not how it used to be here in Chile. Some people just want you to buy anything and leave immediately. You’re just a client, a walking wallet with some bucks or, better, a credit card. And don’t get me started on how they treat local bands.
There’s still places that keep that communal spirit. For example the Needle shop, where I’ve talked with various clerks about garage rock, ambient and even rock in opposition and religious music (and sometimes live music as well), or Respect, where there’s always someone eager to talk to about emo, post-hardcore, punk, folk or indie. However, not every place is like that. Luckily, there’s still small independent labels (or “distros”) that are trying to be that special meeting place, even if we’re not talking about a specific physical place anymore. People selling and trading records, releasing tapes, CDs and, sometimes, vinyl, publishing stuff on the internet, sharing the things they like because they know someone out there will love something. Off the top of my head, I think of Hardwave, Yellow Moon, Venta Incediaria and Imperecedero. Instagram, Bandcamp, YouTube and other sites become open plazas for you to roam through with eyes open, always on the look for something interesting, new or exciting. You can find big networks of people moving from one place to another, or people in their homes, alone, doing what they can just because they really enjoy it. And one of those wandering days, I found this.
Originally posted on a Bandcamp page, this release was a true mystery to me. It features four short songs, a bright cover and no info but the location: Temuco. When I started listening to the Spooky demo, I really enjoyed what I heard. It was punk with a garage lo-fi sound and a playful vibe, like D.L.I.M.C., C.C.T.V. and many Devo-woshiping bands related to The Coneheads (a sound that few years ago the internet started calling Egg Punk, a term that might be a joke, but that I totally embrace). When I heard the music another music project came to my mind straight away, and what a surprise! ‘Cause that was Instant Party Records’ own Darby Trash (who used to play in the bands Confesional and Los Cometas, among many others). He started the label in February with his debut EP, Trashin. Since then he’s also published Pizza Boy’s first EP (also one of his new projects). So, when I found out that Spooky’s debut release was also going to be published through the label it felt perfect. It was 100% the place for them.
The songs in the demo are very direct and straight to the point. When you hit play, a fast, wavy sound that feels almost like it was drowned in some kind of eerie liquid, comes out. Instruments are chorused to the max, with the guitars loudly upfront, distorted and opaque vocals, mechanic drum beats blasting from far away. You may even think, if you’re no used to this kind of sound, that your headphones or speakers are broken, but no, they’re not.
Despite the upbeat garage rhythms, there’s a certain sombreness to these songs and the way they’re crafted. Something you can hear very clearly in tracks like “Ejecución” and “Nunca”, or in the alien noises of… well, “Alien”. There’s a dark veil covering it all, a claustrophobic and ghastly feeling lingering, like thousand of spectral spider eyes nailed to your neck (spooky, indeed).
Even though it’s weird how all the songs just fade out out of nowhere and leave you with a strange after taste, they are undeniably fun to listen to. And come on, don’t tell me you can’t spend 4 minutes and 51 seconds of your life with that record! You can do like Calvin on the cover and listen to the demo EP while you pee (and wash your hands after). I personally recommend it.