by Max Freedman (@anticlimaxwell)
In 1965, Robert Manry, a copy editor from Cleveland’s daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer, traveled alone across the Atlantic Ocean in a boat named Tinkerbelle. Over half a century later, not terribly far west in Chicago, a duo named Tinkerbelles (this one referencing Andy Warhol’s right-hand woman) is providing the Windy City’s answer to Wire. The music Adam Mohundro and Christian Dawson make together might incite the sort of hallucinations Manry experienced on his boat trip; with just bass, drums, and vocals, the duo employs hard rock/dance-punk act Death From Above’s setup and guitar tone for something considerably spookier and abstract, like early grunge having a seriously bad trip. Post-Trash is thrilled to premiere Tinkerbelles’ blistering “Ashtrays at Graceland,” the first single from its newly announced debut album Confetti at The Bottom, which Teepeespeak Records will release August 22nd on 12” birthday cake-colored vinyl stickered with—get this—cigarette-scented scratch-and-sniffs.
In the context of Confetti at the Bottom, “Ashtrays at Graceland” is the pin that bursts the mounting bubble of tension that the Indian-influenced, sample-infused, 47-second opening track “Harakiri” offers. There’s not a transition between the tracks so much as there’s the sudden stab of a knife through the subtle terror of “Harakiri”; the bass that repeats the driving, ominous main riff across pretty much the entire song lands with the furor of a subway speeding into an empty station. And it’s a riff that’s as enthralling as it is perplexing—is that an effects pedal? Are these notes coming from super high on Mohundro’s bass? Did this power duo somehow find space for a synth? The vocal style is fascinating as well; it sounds like a middle schooler taunting younger kids on the playground, but through an intentionally shitty mic. It’s not entirely clear what the words Tinkerbelles are saying mean; calico porcupines, tabletop dancing, candies, and something about “good intonation” are among the highlights on “Ashtrays,” an intentionally abstract tale that showcases Tinkerbelles’ penchant for charming fervor, regardless of subject matter.