by Niccolo Dante Porcello (@chromechompsky)
Steakhouse Records, the export arm of Brooklyn residence David Blaine’s The Steakhouse, colloquially referred to as DBTS, has released the third in their series of compilations. Arranged from “demos, bedroom recordings, b-sides, and more”, the compilation is a gorgeous and wonderful trip through a singular creative community. Compiled by Adam Kolodny and Jim Hill, BS3 features work from 10 different artists, some solo and some working as a group, all distinct and interesting in their own right.
Led off by Cadet Kelly, comprised of Gabriela Tully Claymore, Spencer Fox, and KT Pipal, “Argentina” is a furiously wrought two minutes of the skronky fuzz that certain other DBTS housemates also deal in. “Argentina” is dynamic and emotive, echoing the full lyricism (“worn out Spanish prose/ I’m losing my mind three-quarters of the time/ I wish I missed you”) of a Frankie Cosmos-like architecture while sonically pummeling the walls. Pleistocene’s “Shredder” (courtesy of Katie Preston) is a tremolo-y jaunt that swirls around and lives just beneath any perceived surface. Cold Mouth’s (Mike Caridi and Johanne Swanson) “From the Garden” sits like a counterweight against “Shredder” – it takes the same principals but renders them sky high. It is bedroom pop in a true sense, endlessly listenable and sunny in the same way that the sun sometimes doesn’t feel so sunny.
WEINGAST (Jacob Weingast) switches modes, eschewing analog for the digital and rendering one of the most breathtaking tracks on BS3. “A total lapse in thought caused by lack of oxygen/ at 3:21am naked in my room again” is a profoundly relatable sentiment for anyone who has encountered any semblance of existence. This is followed by the ontologically similar, but compositionally opposed “Kolonopinterest” from Bethlehem Steel. Their first new track since the indomitable Docking, “Kolonopinterest” is Becca Ryskalczyk in stark, stunning repose. One of the most haunting and astonishingly rendered songs in recent memory and a perfectly placed pair with WEINGAST’s track, Bethlehem Steel’s entry is phenomenal center point of the compilation.
Makeba Robinson as Crosslegged launches off the back half with “Grey,” a wonderfully fleshed out song that stands as one the most polished efforts on BS3. Robinson’s voice stands above a jazzy composition, airy and unforgettably wonderful; “And I never understood, your gaze”. Slight (Jim Hill, Greg Rutkin, and Alberto Casadevall) follow with “Shadow,” a pop-y ballad of sorts that again finds an ontological pairing with its predecessor on the album. It is a breezy song, but like others here carries weight lyrically. Adir L.C.’s (Adir Cohen) “My Time” is driven by the smoky vocal work of Cohen, his voice functioning as an instrument as fundamental as the guitar it floats around – its hard to listen to exactly what Cohen is saying, only because the way he says it is so entrancing.
Mups (Brittney Costa, Sam Perry, and Kat Casale) furiously crater into the second to last song on the compilation. “Noctambulent” is the longest song on the album, and like “Grey,” feels fully formed; “I couldn’t sleep last night, my dreams rolled down my face” fires off into a void of distortion and heavy drumming. “Noctambulent” is a rock and roll song in a very serious way, and indeed it rocks hard, adding a valuable element to the compilation. Casey Weissbuch as Slanted rounds things off with another true hit, following perfectly in the footsteps of Mups. “Opening Number” has a thick layer of distorted sediment (and sentiment!) covering its every moment, with rolling drums driving the song. In line with the compilation’s overriding theme of nocturnal despair – and perhaps personal disillusionment with what is less considered by those around you, “Opening Number” expresses this through lines like “and sleep if I can, but/ I feel everyone”.
Indeed “sleep”(lessness) is the motif across all 10 tracks of BS3, and it exits without being overbearing or feeling like a poorly wrought concept album. There can’t be enough said about Kolodny and Hill’s curating job here; every track is meaningfully placed and significant in the story of BS3, and I suspect DBTS. Their job is made easier by the astonishing cast of musicians they’re working with, but what is a creative community if not being routinely blown away by the talents of the people around you.
All proceeds of BS3 go to Planned Parenthood! Buy this!