A Look in The Local Bin: Replay Records
There’s something subversive and fun about Replay Records. The resurrected Lawrence label puts out some of the most beautiful 7″ I’ve seen, all while deliberately breaking genre continuity. Radkey coexists with Oils; Psychic Heat coexists with Hospital Ships. Without a single aesthetic to unite the label, Replay Records is free to experiment, to change, which gives their releases a feeling of surprise. No matter what title you pick up, you can be sure it will be full of passion and Midwestern grit.
One of their earlier releases (circa 2012), Mouthbreathers‘ “Die Alone”/”Validation” is a hard and fast punk single. Starting slow and steady, “Die Alone” is a dirty soup of a song. Its heavy rhythms and pounding drums come to a boil at the first chorus, churning the song from grime-saturated elegy to anger-fueled anthem. By the end of “Die Alone,” its machined noise has expanded beyond its grooves daring its listeners to flip it over and hear its brother-song, “Validation.” If they do, they’ll find a quick and dirty bass line that roils under some of the best garage vocals to burst from the KC/LFK scene. The “Die Alone”/”Validation” 7″ is a gem for any fan of punk, garage, or anything that rocks.
Moving in an opposite direction, Oils shows the label’s softer side. Collaging room-away vocals with jangling lead guitars and minimal bass for songs that simply bubble. Side A of the band’s Replay 7″, “Waves We Feel,” is a narrative caught in the swirling eddies of nostalgia. Half-poem of longing, half-memory of better times, “Waves We Feel” builds its tension from juxtaposing two timeframes, a lyrical strategy that is harder to pull off than Oils makes it seem. Side B, a true B-side, unfurls like a space odyssey. Instrumental and strange, “Super Moon Music” spins like early Animal Collective meets woods meets Expo 70. The song’s ability to be expansive without losing its tension lends it a stunning feel.
What would talk of local record labels be without mentioning Radkey? The brothers are caught in a messier state than their full length, Dark Black Makeup, on their “Spirals”/”N.I.G.G.A.” 7″. The brothers Radke use their overly-distorted guitars and sped up slop to juxtapose the Danzig for radio punk sound of their vocal harmonies and blast beats. The result lands somewhere between AFI’s All Hallow’s EP and The Clash’s London Calling. It’s evident Radkey knows how to write a hook, knows how to tame noise to create danceable punk. ”Spirals”/”N.I.G.G.A.” is a snapshot of the brothers learning their craft, making some fantastic, noise-laced music on the way to their current sound.
The wide breadth of genres represented on Replay Records is powerful. Whether the label is putting out ambient folk or stoner metal, garage punk or psych rock, Replay Records makes sure to only press the best. Stop into your favorite local record joint and peruse some of their back catalogue and their most recent release, “Stranger”/”Starve” by Psychic Heat. You’ll be glad you did.