On those days when the world seems like an anxiety-ridden, dumpster fire, that not even the “This is fine” dog could anticipate, it can be hard to want to add to the noise and confusion. In such a worrisome world, Cafe Racer is here to say: Slow it down. Just listen, relax, and enjoy things for a minute.
Cafe Racer have been developing their tunes for a few years now. They formed in July 2015 and have gone on a few short tours but have mostly gigged around town, often along Milwaukee Ave. at hotspots like Cole’s, Slippery Slope, and East Room. They released their self-titled debut record on Dumpster Tapes in 2016 and shared bills with other like-minded locals like Ne-Hi, Deeper, and Cut Worms. Now Maximum Pelt is putting out their second full-length, Famous Dust.
The five-piece group doesn’t stray far from their hazy, major-chord dominated psychedelic motif that fits right in with label mates Dehd. It’s tempting to call the production on the new record lo-fi, but everything comes across even in the mix. The vocals often blend and blur with the guitars, and the guitar-fuzz never gets too loud or out of control. In fact, it’s the slowness to the album that provides that sense of control. Michael Santana and Adam Schubert share both guitar and vocal duties and the band is purposefully not posting the lyrics, which at times can be difficult to discern. But to that point, lyrical meaning isn’t necessarily the focus of these songs.
Cafe Racer uses the tag #warblecore on Soundcloud which simultaneously describes nothing and is entirely appropriate. The wah-filled chorus of opening track “Pretty Trash” is reminiscent of Jason Pierce’s projects and then there’s a bit of a relaxed Black Lips-vibe on the second track “Two Times A Day.” Various other shoegaze and psych-rock RIYL influences permeate across the album. Rob McWilliams’s bassline is front and center driving the short and sweet ‘Radical Acceptance’ with spoken vocals seemingly coming from all over the place. Andrew Harper’s droning synth lays the backbone on tracks like ‘Nothing’s Easy’ and Loc Tran’s minimal drum beats keep everything on track through the album’ glacial pace. And of course leave the band to take everything they built up to in eight and a half songs and reassemble it in the last 45 seconds of the album.
This is your Saturday-morning-I’m-taking-it-easy-today album. Your Saturday afternoon time-to-take-a-nap-in-the-park album. Your end of the Saturday night buzzed-and-coming-down-and-ready-to-almost-call-it-a-night-except-you-want-to-stay-up-and-listen-to-this album. It’s the life-moves-pretty-fast-if-you-don’t-stop-to-look-around-once-in-awhile-you-could-miss-it album.
Check out the single “Mush Mouth” below and head to the Empty Bottle on Monday February 19th to celebrate the record release of Famous Dust; Ethers and Gosh open and there’s no cover. The first 100 records will be pressed on yellow vinyl (which you can pre-order here) but plenty more will be available after that.