Single Take: This Song Is Awful/Awesome And You Are Stupid for Liking/Not Liking It (Preoccupations, Dr. Octagon, A Place to Bury Strangers, Woods and more)

Single Take is a Reviler feature where multiple people give a passing glance at some new music and causally rank it somewhere between 1 (Justin Beiber) and 10 (really amazing). Fun, right? Check out the latest installment below and feel free to tell us who stupid and out of touch we are based on our opinions. Arguing on the internet: the greatest of American traditions.


Preoccupations “Espionage”

Jon (7/10)

Took me a minute to remember that these guys are/were Viet Cong. This single is promising but I admit it doesn’t blow me away. I do like it more on the 2nd, 3rd, etc listens though so it could be a grower. 

Chris (8/10)

I’ve loved this band since I saw them as Viet Cong a number of years ago at the Entry and again at Pitchfork.  People took offense to the name of the band, and they came back really strong with their sophomore release…so I am definately interested if they keep that momentum going with this album.  This song gives me hope, with the same Joy Divisionesque hooks (can you hear She’s Lost Control in the background?), and smoker-voice vocals of Matt Flegel. They’ll be in Minneapolis this spring, and that’s a show not to miss. 

Josh (7/10)

I’ve been a pretty consistent fan of them for the last few years, and while this doesn’t reach the spine-tingling heights that their debut album LP reached, it surpasses the distracted material from their last release. Good stuff and hoping it is just the tip of the iceberg off their forthcoming release.


Dr. Octagon “Octagon Octagon”

Josh (7/10)

I think this is intentionally abrasive, and I respect and enjoy it for that. Sure, it isn’t “Earth People,” but very few rap songs. Leaving aside the specific details…this is the first song from a new Dr. Octagon album!!

Chris (4/10)

This is okay, but not exactly in my wheelhouse.  This songs wins the award for most uses of the word “octagon”.  I’ll give it half an octagon.

Jon (5/10)

A welcome return but ultimately not a very memorable track. Curious about those Octagon gerbils though. 



Dungen & Woods – Turn Around

Chris (9/10)

Oh yeah, this is smooth pychedelic rock.  I did some reading about how this collaboration came about through the Marfa Myths festival, really interesting.  Seems like this collab was a perfect match by the Mexican Summer label.   

Josh (5/10)

Two bands I love, so I had high hopes for this track, but it feels like a half-baked attempt at what they’d bring to their own records. (Pun intended.)

Jon (3/10)

I like both these bands but this weak trickle of pop/doo-wop is not doing it for me in the least. 


Ultimate Painting “Not Gonna Burn Myself Anymore” 


Jon (4/10)

Eh. hard to come up with a lot to say about this. It’s not objectionably awful but it’s also not good. It is just kind of beige-y folk rock. The Menards ad that played before the video had a more compelling tune.  

Josh (3/10)

Not bad, necessary, but feels so rudimentary as to make me wonder what motivates something like this to be made. If you like Elliott Smith so much, why make a watered-down version of his music?

Chris (8/10)

It’s really too bad this band just broke up.  This is a really beautiful song, and sometimes real genius is born from shaky band relationships.  This has a timeless feel to me.


A Place To Bury Strangers “Never Coming Back” 

Josh (7/10)

Takes a bit to finally get going, which I think is the point, but I’m used to a more visceral, charging sound right out of the gate from this band. It pays off in the end, but with the slow build I’m not sure I’d make it a point to come back to this song. The video does a good job of adding to the intrigue, and when the levy breaks it is like an electrical storm in the middle of a hurricane.

Chris (8/10)

Very Bauhaus, haunting, and steady rolling….I was wondering when the loud noises I associate APTBS with would kick in…ahhh, there it is midway through the song!  I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of this album, and I am glad they are back with a new lineup. 

Jon (8/10)

This is a bit of an anxiety-attack in song format – the pressure builds and builds and builds and then it erupts into chaos. Then it starts building again. If it’s this affecting as a youtune video I bet hearing it live is pretty transcendent. 




Chris (7/10)

Shannon and the Clams are just a fun band to see and to listen to…I’m not sure how to describe it any other way.  I saw them at SXSW a few years ago, and admit I had never heard of them prior to that.  They’re just “California Cool” if that makes sense.  7/10 for fun, and for the stop motion in the video.  How long did that take to shoot?

Jon (7/10)

Every time I hear a song by these guys I like it but for some reason I have never really pursued listening to them more. This song is no different and reminds me I should dig into them more. A little bit of a throwback Roy Orbison or maybe even Del Shannon feel to this one. I could definitely see these guys segueing effortlessly into “Runaway.”

Josh (8/10)

Delightful song and video. Lo-fi without sounding hollow, poppy without sounding cheesy. A band that proudly are carrying forward the bubblegum battalion of the garage pop army forward.



Kevin Morby & Waxahatchee – Farewell Transmission

Chris (5/10)

This feels like one of those collaborations where the artists were sitting by each other,at say Eaux Claires, and says to the other like “you know, we should cover that great Jason Molina song.” “Yeah, sure…do you know someone who could add some slide guitar in the background?”  This kind of falls flat to me….but would have been cool to witness in the moment of a music fest.  I love both artists, but not this rendition so much.  5/10

Jon (8/10)

This just made me decide that I need to catch Morby again when he comes back to town this Spring as well as Waxahatchee when they (she?) play the mainroom. 

Josh (7/10)

Don’t know as much about Waxahatchee, but big fan of Morby, and this song does well in blending their two vocals over sparse Americana. Cool stuff.


Birth Defeks “Endless Pain”

Chris (7/10)

I really dig this…in the most pure sense, just good old fashioned garage rock.

Jon (8/10)

This one is pretty gnarly – relentless, pummeling beats, heavy riffs, scary-looking guy screaming: it’s definitely not a new equation but it’s one done really well here.  

Josh (4/10)

I was super into it until the singing started. So for the first 40 seconds you can double the score I gave it, but overall not something I’ll be coming back to.

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