Restaurnaut
Black Crow Marathon [CS; Self-released]

Like Jon Barba near him, Patrick Porter in Colorado or Sam Gas Can on the other side of the country, Restaurnaut’s Nicholas Dolezal is among a handful of folks out there who still appreciate the “song,” at least enough to spit the notes out in all their verse-chorus-structured glory. Yes, they’re every-damn-where, and they’re doing it in a wobbly-kneed way that seems lo-fi first out of material necessity (i.e., using what the musicians have available to them — simple instruments, crude tape recording setups, etc.), and second as something of a purposefully subversive approach to singer-songwriter tropes that seems critical in response to the hyper-gloss cheese of the mainstream. Restaurnaut’s particular brand, which I think he accurately pins as “folka-dot,” sounds like it’s scribbled across the air via cross-legged ukulele strums and a blown-out crunch that feels tangible and chunky, like it could be scooped up with a spoon. This collection of songs is indeed the marathon its title promises to be, 90 minutes of tunes with backwards time-warps, laser zaps of noise, Casio keyboard blip-beats, minimal overdubs and samples, a spoken word monologue that admits itself to being tape-filler, and at least one odd and uncomfortable minutes-on-end moment of silence that come off a bit awkward and head-scratching. But everywhere else (and despite the album’s inconsistent production, the fact that without a track list anywhere I have no idea what any of these songs are called, and that the tape itself might as well be held together with Band-Aids), the music beneath the hiss is endearing, honest and often quite beautiful, as Daniel Johnston songs are, sung out with quaint and comforting deliveries through a couple of different vocal personalities. All in all, it’s a tape for kicking back in the hammock and letting the free swing do most of the thinking for you.

Cerberus

Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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