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New Radiant Storm King is smart, raising its profile by hooking up with two of the more interesting bands in music today. NRSK is better-than-average post-Superchunk plow, as represented by “Back Door” from this split seven inch. “Hey Baby” is Velvet Underground–derivative ching-chang with very Moe Tuckerish vocals. On the flip side, Chapel Hill’s Polvo proves its mastery over language as well as its guitars in “All the Clichés under Broadway.” Is that a piano or am I hearing things? “Two Fists” is the usual but delightfully confusing which-way-did-they-go instrumentation. Excellent.
The other single, with NRSK’s “Rocket Scientist,” is more likable in the pop sense, but not nearly as interesting. However, Silver Jews, the only band to put out a CD recorded on a handheld microcassette player, saves the day. The chanty, sing-along “Sabellion Rebellion” is mildly paced lo-fi, so low that Silver Jews actually deserves to be called “underground.” The second song is lousy lounge rock done right.