by Max Freedman (@anticlimaxwell)
The Athens, Georgia-based five-piece Saline describes its genre as “shoegrease.” It’s a funny joke, and, pun intended, the shoe happens to fit; what makes Saline stand out among the bottomless pit of shoegaze bands is a grimy, slippery, noisy approach to four-chord guitar rock, bolstered by tension-building-and-breaking volume and tempo shifts. The band’s previous release, its 2015 EP Dumb (recorded partially with the help of University of Georgia’s radio station WUOG, a pillar of the local community), piled on the unpredictable song structures and established Saline as surprisingly melodic and accessible, especially via Garrison Taylor-Bates' vocals. New vocalist Anna Staddon shines on “Knee Socks,” the first taste of Saline’s upcoming debut album You Did It To Yourself (out April 13 via Athens-based label Perfect Attendance Records); the single strengthens these specialties across a knockout five minutes, and Post-Trash is thrilled to premiere it here today..
The dissonant arpeggios that introduce “Knee Socks” invite the listener in while maintaining a sense of unease, and Staddon’s firm, nasal voice recounts a particular situation—one that everyone’s been through yet wouldn’t immediately strike most as interesting lyrical matter—with eerie clarity (“tiles echo,” “I was surrounded by smell and sound”). It’s not long before a wash of feedback introduces the ever-familiar roar of power chords and the churn of percussive battering, somewhat obscuring Staddon’s voice and making it more of an instrument than a narrative tool (it might be easy to miss that she’s begun recounting an entirely different, just as strangely specific situation). Her singing takes on a ghostly quality as Saline moves towards utter chaos and an enveloping, disorienting double-time feel defined by wailing guitars and an undercurrent of indistinct but empowering overdrive. It all culminates in a wild final minute of arpeggios far more urgent than the ones heard in the intro, supported by a thrilling mess of militant shoegaze and sneering feedback. The final sound is the gradual ringing of a clean guitar, bringing things full-circle again. Even through the grime and muck, Saline knows how to keep it together.
4/01 - Athens, GA @ The World Famous
4/21 - Athens, GA @ Caledonia Lounge
You Did It To Yourself is out April 13 via Perfect Attendance Records.