CROONER ALLEY / ZERO DEGRE - Split-10"
After their first split-10" featuring Mr Gerrymanders and The Drapes, I had already seen the French Hound Dog as a pure garage label. To my (positive) surprise, the second instalment sees the vinyl fetishists on a more modern territory.
Crooner Alley offer four short tracks that run on 45rpm. Their sound is inherited to garage rock, but they add subtle dub and ska elements, with an overall approach putting them in the neighbourhood of a band like Foggy Bottom who don't live far away from them.
Zero Degré is not actually signed to HDR, and is even not a real band, but the project of Nicolas Tochet. The garage couldn't be further away on these three longer songs (consequently running on 33rpm), this is rather a bedroom recording, combining indietronica with postrock, and enough guitars not to scare every rock fan away.
This split-10" therefore feels a lot different from the first one, but is by no means worse. It's just a different approach, and should therefore be able to reach out to a wider audience. I just had a hard time reviewing it as I don't own a vinyl record player anymore and had to drive to my parents and beg them to use their stereo. They could have done it just like John McAsskill and Tvesla who added a free CD-R with the vinyl's songs so that you can listen to the music anywhere.
Vinyl collectors will still revel in the nice 10" format, although the packaging could have been a little bit more luxurious (the record just lies in the cardboard, without any protective sheet).