Toby Reif – 2014 (EP Stream)

by Steven Spoerl

tobyreif
Photograph by Matthew Gilbertson

One of the best benefits of running a site is that it opens up the floodgates to great new music via unsolicited submissions. A few personal favorites have fought their way through that weird, uncharted territory that would otherwise have slipped by, potentially unnoticed. From Mulligrub to Spit to Space Mountain, it’s allowed the unearthing of a jaw-dropping assortment of treasures. Add Toby Reif’s vicious EP, 2014, to that list immediately. 2014 is a towering achievement that unleashes itself on the listener from the outset, courtesy of “Bug”, a snarling track that’s  instrumental save for the layered ambient vocal samples towards the close. Equal parts post-punk and shoegaze, it falls into a territory not too far removed from the majority of Happy Diving’s excellent Big World.

“Skullkid”, 2014‘s ensuing track, flips the emphasis over to the (heavily distorted) vocals, which lash out of the speakers and make exacting cuts with no remorse. Once again, it’s a viscerally punishing track that sounds absolutely massive without bothering to cater to anything except for Reif’s formidable creative drive. Everything closes with the slow-burning “Going For A Walk And Then A Run At Night When I Should Be Sleeping”, which starts off on a delicate ambient tone before blooming into something much stranger. It’s a fitting end-cap to a genuinely great EP that should, if not anything else, establish Reif as an artistic force. Here’s hoping 2014 and Reif both find the audiences they deserve.

Listen to 2014 below.