Reviews

Landowner Impressive Almanac LP

One of my faves from last year, LANDOWNER’s Consultant was a true masterclass in smart-aleck punk as performed by young men who had ingested entirely too much coffee. For this re-release, Born Yesterday takes LANDOWNER’s debut cassette and commits it to the permanent record. If you dig LANDOWNER’s other two albums, you will be in familiar territory. Here, LANDOWNER is represented by principal architect Dan Shaw. He not only writes all the songs; on Impressive Almanac, he’s playing everything, including programming the drum machine. Shaw mines MINUTEMEN precision and RUDIMENTARY PENI mania to craft expert punk nervosa. Maybe it’s that drum machine that enables this initial batch of Shaw’s songs to seem even more frantic, sometimes coming off like the FEELIES trying out distortion-free powerviolence. It’s always been a bold move in the punk world to forgo the fuzz, but with LANDOWNER it pays off in dividends. This is head music for speed thinkers. The songs are always tense and driving, but the focus shifts to the greater whole, even as it’s constructed with tiny moments of meticulous concentration. Shaw often sounds like he is urgently whispering to you, and it makes you conscious of how much time you spend getting yelled at by singers (and teachers and bosses and cops). But it’s not all swift kicks and snarky lyrics, as there’s plenty of forceful yet twinkling tracks like “Shimmering Neck” and “Ancestral Home.” “Places to Put Cars” positions itself as the first in several key LANDOWNER songs about parking. Straight up—Shaw is currently one of the best songwriters in punk and this welcome reissue reveals that that has been the case for a while now.