September 4, 2014

LP: Amanda X - Amnesia

We're hardcore crushing on Amanda X.

I know when a crush is real. It’s not those butterflies in your stomach that disappear in a flit of impetuousness. It’s not those flirty text messages that can sour into passive-aggressive “whatevers”. My crushes, the good ones, are based in awe, respect, and longevity. My crushes are “I want to be your friend”, they're, “I want to go to bed thinking about you and wake up the same way”, they’re, “Wanna see a photo?” worthy. And now, after listening to their debut LP Amnesia, Amanda X: I wanna be your friend. I want to wake up in the morning listening to this record and falling asleep to it too. I want to show you to everyone in the world. Amanda X, I’ve got a crush on you.

In 2012, Philly-based Amanda X (Cat Park, Kat Bean, and Tiff Yoon) released their first EP after only a few months of existence. Fast-forward two years and historic label Siltbreeze Records is releasing Amnesia. Siltbreeze, for those who don't know, is responsible for records by legends such as Guided by Voices, Sebadoh, and The Yips. It’s one dude, Tom Lax, who maybe hasn’t released anything since 2012? Needless to say, it’s kind of a big deal and impossibly well-deserved.

Amnesia vacillates between extreme confidence (“Dream House” and “Tunnels”) and palpable vulnerability (closer “Friendly Tones”). “Guatemala” feels like a head-heavy, psychedelic experience with drum fills that read like stumbles as the repetitious “I’m falling down”s reverberate in the consciousness. By the time you’ve reached the faster, spiraling “follow me down”, a drunken sweat has broken. Further into the album, “Nothing Wild,” manages to have both wistful levity and grunge-laden riffs. If pushed any further, contradictions would arise, but a sweet spot is discovered tucked into this precarious balance.

“Paranoia,” serves as the pinnacle of Amanda X’s efforts on Amnesia. Leading in with a series of harmless and unassuming “oohs,” it’s followed by, “I have a bitter winter shadow”. Subtle dichotomies like this are examples of how Amanda X is able to employ known musical tendencies and then subvert them. “Parsnip” is the only track to have seen a prior release as a single in November 2013. Slowed down, warmed up, yet remaining ferocious and modest (“I made my mind up in your unmade bed to tie into knots all my loose ends / I’ve seen into the mouth of the meteor and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before”), it is perhaps the strongest track, as well as the biggest indicator that Amanda X has become a force to be reckoned with. And if you’re not listening, you’re fucking up.


Listen to Amanda X on bandcamp.

Madeline Meyer, a Los Angeles transport to Philadelphia. She writes screenplays and plays guitar and sings in Littler. Her favorite things are olives, board games, and dad jokes.