Vertical Scratchers – Memory Shards (Stream)
by Steven Spoerl
And the hits just keep coming. After yesterday’s parade of content, today’s been just as ceaseless in terms of output. There were outstanding songs by Young Widows, The Wytches, A Million Billion Dying Suns, Papercuts, Anto Dust, Downliners Sekt (which is a near-definitive example of what ambient dubstep should aspire to be), and JPNGRLS. Then there were stunning clips from the likes of Mr. Dream, Hockeysmith, Yellow Ostrich, and Blouse, in addition to the insta-classic videos from Guided by Voices and The Notwist. In the largely dark and wiry post-punk onslaught that is the majority of that list, Vertical Scratchers managed to sneak in another near-perfect track leading up to the release of Daughter of Everything later this month.
With that song, Vertical Scratchers officially go two for two. It wasn’t too long ago that this site covered their excellent first offering, “These Plains”, and now the Merge duo’s back with an equally infectious piece of quick-moving powerpop. Incidentally, the band that “Memory Shards” most prominently recalls is Guided by Voices, who came close to being today’s feature by virtue of their Funny or Die music video for “Planet Score”. From the shared sense of melody to the paradoxical aesthetic (energetically lackadaisical), Vertical Scratchers and Guided by Voices share a lot more in common than expected at first glance. There’s an impossibly smooth falsetto, a perfect amount of crunch, and a whole ton of melody packed into an immensely enjoyable two minute burst- sound familiar? If all of Daughter of Anything is as good as the first two cuts suggest it is, Vertical Scratchers will be making one hell of an entrance. Here’s hoping they wind up with a career as storied as their predecessors. Listen to “Memory Shards” below and get ready to wear this record out over spring and summer.