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Minikin Presents: Afterthoughts | Album Review

by Niccolo Dante Porcello (@chromechompsky)

Brooklyn micro label Minikin, have released their first compilation: Afterthoughts; a lovely 14-track record for which the proceeds go to Brooklyn music education platform We Make Noise. Minikin, formed in 2015, have brought together scene stalwarts Bethlehem Steel, Vagabon, Long Beard, gobbinjr, Half Waif, among others, and the result is a lovely, meandering set of songs that fit well together without being overly similar. Some of the tracks are demos, and some more fleshed out, but framed altogether the compilation puts forth a valuable and very listenable cross section of a portion of New York’s DIY scene.

Half Waif’s pondering “Minnow” leads off the compilation, featuring swirling synths and programmed drums that never escalate past a down-tempo furor, registering like less sparse James Blake. UgMugg, a solo project from Vundabar, contributes the excellent “Daisyhead”, a catchy guitar-driven track that makes its living in a sun-drenched reality; when a stuttering break happens towards the end, it lends an appreciable and vital sonic depth. Bethlehem Steel, here just Becca Ryskalczyk, lend their refined and spectacular songwriting with “Donny Wahlstreet”. While slightly more lo-fi than previous efforts, “Donny Wahlstreet” is an unbelievably beautiful composition, replete with the emotion and life that Bethlehem Steel have been bringing for over a year now. Furnsss’ “Roll With It (Demo)” is a jangly entry that opens up as the song progresses, ending in a loose section that is some of their best work. Long Beard contribute a spacey, vocally-driven and synth-layered entry that is a departure from Sleepwalker, but registers as no less honest; confronting open displays of pain as they juxtapose with the afflicted continuation of daily life.

Morus Alba’s demo, “Can’t Wait” is a lo-fi wonder, exploring the pain of bias and discrimination in all but the most certain of terms. It is a lovely segue into the sultry and intricate “i don’t wanna be” from gobbinjr, a track that eschews people who attempt to dictate the terms of living – “you make me into someone that I don’t wanna be/ someone that I don’t wanna be/ someone that I don’t wanna be”. Lunch Ladies’ “Don’t Tell Me To Smile” is similarly adept at using breezy rock to refute the seemingly unfair emotional demands of others: “don’t tell me to smile/ I’ll smile when I'm happy/ don’t tell me to talk/ you’re always talking when you have nothing to say;” one of the most direct and relatable sentiments across the compilation. Rhea’s “3am” closes Minikin’s first compilation in spectacular form; big rock forms shift into meaningful glances and Rhea provide a track that is dripping in sonic pathos.

Professor Caveman, Rest Ashore, rock solid, and Peru 4 U provide intricate and enjoyable contributions to the compilation as well; indeed, Minikin have stumbled on an excellent collection of songs. The compilation release show is July 19th at Silent Barn (Long Beard, gobbinjr, Lunch Ladies, and Rhea will be playing) in Brooklyn, NY. The event also functions as a benefit for We Make Noise.