Hits

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Hits Cielo Nublado LP

HITS’ Sediment Seen cassette from last year was a perfectly melted hybrid of scrappy art-punk and spectral bedroom pop, and the Oakland trio’s new Cielo Nublado LP shifts that balance even further in the direction of the latter, with warm fever dream melodies over a sparse, shambling instrumental backing as if the MARINE GIRLS and DOLLY MIXTURE had decamped to Olympia for an early ’90s International Pop Underground convention. Minimal, electronically-accented drums and wandering rubbery bass hit at a series of uncertain angles, with guitarist Jen Weisberg’s vocals often multi-tracked to a haunting GRASS WIDOW-ish effect, most notably on “Drawstring Ties” and “500 Square Foot Labyrinth.” HITS have crafted a world where sprightly indie pop tributes to Alan Vega lead into to playfully stark, OH-OK-styled post-punk explorations (the repetition of the line “we are the specimens of the world” in “Trotting Lemmings” is brilliant and sounds like it was sourced straight from Athens circa 1983), and I can’t really think of another world that I’d rather live in.

Hits Sediment Seen cassette

Oakland-based arty post-punk in the early Rough Trade tradition, less angular and jagged than wobbly and fuzzed-out, like a second- or third-generation dubbed tape of RAINCOATS and SWELL MAPS singles left out in the sun for a little too long. The minimal percussion is based around a drum pad with that authentically ’80s UK DIY banging-on-found-objects sound, and the bass has the perfect amount of rubber-band snap, but guitarist Jen Weisburg’s unassuming vocals are the secret weapon here, treated with little more than some slight echo or delay to give an otherworldly edge to the off-kilter pop hooks in songs like “Stand in Your Way” or “Climbing Up”—GRASS WIDOW would be an obvious frame of reference, even without knowing that Weisburg and drummer Brian Tester both collaborated with Lillian Maring for her killer (and similarly-minded) post-GRASS WIDOW project RUBY PINS. Killer tape, and simultaneously retro/futuristic, like sounds that have been beamed from an alternate galaxy years ago and are only now reaching the Earth.