Trophy Dad/Barbara Hans (Split Single Review)
by Steven Spoerl
After a quiet holiday, the releases nearly doubles from their daily average. There were great songs Amy Klein, Honeysuck, Lisa Prank, Ranch Ghost, Rosemary Fairweather, and Savoy Motel, Mesmerizing music videos were unveiled by Pinegrove, Jackal Onasis, PLGRMS, and Slow Club. Impressively, there was a shocking amount of full streams that appeared from the following artists: Erin Tobey, ghostbusters VHS, Bag-Dad, Psychic Ills, Skatebored, Rae Fitzgerald, Dream Wave, Mourn, Pudge, Whelpwisher, the A-side of Cult Values’ self-titled, PUP (easily one of this year’s finest records), and a vinyl issue of Tenement’s self-titled cassette (easily one of last year’s finest releases). Since the Tenement self-titled was extensively covered at the time of its initial cassette release, the feature spot today falls to an astonishing split single between Trophy Dad and Barbara Hans.
The split opens with Trophy Dad (pictured above), who are continued to ride a wave of momentum they generated with last year’s excellent Shirtless Algebra Fridays. 2o15 felt, in a lot of ways, like a breakout year for the quartet with Shirtless Algebra Fridays serving as their crown jewel, indicating a growing level of confidence. That trend continues its upward ascension on “Addison”, an explosive song that approaches the six minute mark without ever losing its energy or pacing. “Addison” opens with a beautiful piano outro before blooming into a Waxahatchee-esque verse section, building to a breathtaking crest before falling away into a hypnotic middle section. Just as it seems “Addison” is content to ride out in a storm’s wake, a solo erupts and viciously cuts any semblance of serenity to shreds before returning to the more median operative mode that the first verses called home.
“Bundt Cakes“, the song that Barbara Hans contribute to the split, is a far spikier and complements the impressive dynamics of “Addison” nicely. Barbara Hans specialize in basement pop rave-ups and stompers and “Bundt Cakes” may be their best to date, incessantly surging forward towards some unknown ending like its destined for a fiery wreck and openly embraced its own death. Just as it seems Barbara Hans are content to coast on their own adrenaline-generating powerpunk, they veer sharply left into a chaotic outro that could ostensibly resemble a free-form Sonic Youth noise session. It’s a thrilling end to an exhilarating song and makes a sizable impression. Paired with “Addison”, it experiences a natural elevation (and “Addison”, in turn, does the same). It’s the perfect capper to one of the best split singles of the year. Don’t miss out.
Listen to Trophy Dad/Barbara Hans below and pick it up here.