We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club, and a lot of it’s too good to ignore. In Playlisted, we spotlight new music that’s slightly off the beaten path.
Album: Horse Heaven by Creepoid (out March 20 on No Idea)
Press play if you like: Low; Mazzy Star; cough syrup; chronic insomnia; pop-punk 45s played at 33
Some background: The veteran punk label No Idea has always been more eclectic than people give it credit for. But Creepoid is something altogether novel. The young, co-ed Philadelphia quartet knows full well how to crank up the distortion—but it does so in service of a dreamy, drifting, wistful indie-rock. That said, Creepoid's debut full-length, Horse Heaven, isn't some polished piece of car-commercial fodder; just raw and snaky enough to feel eerily unhinged, the disc simmers like vat of molasses as the vocals of guitarist Sean Miller and bassist Anna Troxell build to a sweet, black oblivion. That doesn't keep them from employing the occasional twang—most notably on “Dream Out” and the hypnotic “Grave Blanket”—or even a Jesus And Mary Chain-goes-acoustic vibe on “Staircase.” And when Troxell rolls out the droning spoken-word on “Spirit Birds,” you could cut the ethereality with a knife. That is, until the hurricane of guitars comes down. There's a strong tinge of shoegaze to the group's fog-breathed melancholy, but its ragged punk roots stretch far deeper than just the No Idea label.
Try this: There's plenty of warmth and emotion to be absorbed from Horse Heaven, but some of the album's best moments are its coldest. On “Hollow Doubt,” Creepoid evokes messy echoes of slowcore pioneer Codeine, all while keeping things ghostly, frigid, and acidic.