Hellrazor/Spook The Herd
This split cassette, the music on which is also divided between each band’s Bandcamp webpage, is a trip down I-95 with a car radio locked into the FM dial’s lower half; both bands have ties to Boston and Connecticut, and both distill alt-rock influences into heady, complementary brews. Hellrazor, formerly known as Dead Wives, brings Speedy Ortiz’s Michael Falcone out from behind the drum kit and up to the mike. The band’s three terse offerings have pop aspirations, but those dreams have been twisted, then caked with a thick layer of mud. The swaggering “Wut” showcases the way that Falcone’s gnarled vocal leavens his band’s chugging rhythm section, while the blown-out “Badger” closes out with a coda that recalls a self-immolating guitar. Spook the Herd is a supergroup of sorts: Morgan Luzzi and Theo Hartlett were in the recently defunct Connecticut band Ovlov; Jesse Weiss plays in the fever-dreamy Grass Is Green and the sprightly Palehound; and Abe Kimball was in the slack-pop outfit Vending Machetes. As Spook the Herd, the group plays heavy, hooky pop with self-lacerating
lyrics — “I’m good at turning my friends into enemies/ I spin my web too tightly wound,” Kimball groans on the sweetly sour “Scuttlebutt” — and “oohs” straight out of the powerpop playbook. (Out now; www.lkhellrazor.bandcamp.com and www.spooktheherd.bandcamp
ESSENTIAL “Wut,” “Scuttlebutt”Maura Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.