November 28, 2014

LP: Rebel Kind - Today

Practice self-care this winter with Rebel Kind's Today.

Winter historically, at least for me, means a guilt-induced, Vitamin D suck, where I get really down on myself for not doing enough. But this year, as a recent part-time employee, I’m thinking it’s going to be okay. I’ll go to the shows I want to, and while it may be less than normal, I'm accepting that it’s always never be enough. I’ll wear sweatpants on the days I can because who am I fooling? I’d always rather be comfortable. And I’ll make less apologies because this winter, I’m preaching self-care. And if y’all want to join me in wearing PJs and making hot toddies while listening to Rebel Kind’s Today, that sounds just peachy.

Detroit’s Rebel Kind is the brainchild of Autumn Wetli of Failed Flower, Amber Fellows, and Shelley Salant. Released on Urinal Cake Records, Today drips with nostalgia and regret but in the way that is an organic marker of growing up. It’s raw and vulnerable and reminds us that while we can look back with a seasoned detachment, times can get really bleak in the moment. Someone once told us all that “it gets better,” But Rebel Kind forces us to look at Today and confront the sometimes awful reality of the present. 

“Motorcycle Man,” is what a threadbare The Shangri-Las might sound like against a roll n’ roll backdrop. Instrumentally taking on a nightmarish rumble, Wetli analyzes, “Truth is we never see real life from reality/ always through the haze of some past forgotten days / don’t try to fight it you can’t deny it / looking in the mirror won’t make the image clearer.” But while there may be a somberness illustrated here, several tracks later on “All of the Flowers”, the tone is vaguely threatening with a steady bass and drum beat that becomes ominous as shrieks permeate the soundscape.

With the help of some harmonies on “Best Friends” there’s a sense of fatalism that borders on religious with lines like, “Trust in the man who lives upstairs / even if you think that he doesn’t have a care / trust in the man to guide you by the hand / can’t you see everything he understands.” It’s as if the rest of the narrative Rebel Kind has been weaving is too painful to accept on a moment-to-moment basis; every now and again you have to put your fate in someone else’s hands. Closer and title-track, “Today”, ushers in a heavy reverb reminiscent of Suicide that provides a starkness for the clarity of Wetli’s vocals. A single tambourine punctuates what becomes a lullaby of matured acceptance. Today closes with the words, “I was born under a bad sign / but I’m not the only one.” There are bad moments, but we all have them. Fortunately, the time you’ll spend with Rebel Kind’s Today won’t be one.


Listen to Rebel Kind 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.