Album Review: Weekend – “Sports”

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It’s not too often that the word “subtle” can be used when describing a noise rock band, but “subtle” is exactly what went through my head while listening to Weekend’s Slumberland debut-LP, Sports. The San Francisco trio is quickly gaining popularity, after a year of touring with such bands as Japandroids and A Place To Bury Strangers. The ten song collection of Sports excels in finding nuance within their wall of sound. Although all of the typical elements of noise rock are present—reverb guitars, droning vocals, hammering percussion, and washes of ambient and static sound—Weekend chooses not to use all of these elements continuously.

“Coma Summer” and “Youth Haunts” open the album with the kind of frenetic energy Weekend is gaining notoriety for in their live act, throwing rhythm and guitars at the listener in a frenetic, although not completely aggressive way. Creating this maelstrom of sound over two tracks gives Weekend the room to back off on the volume later on, and become more introspective and lyrical in the middle of the disc. “Monday Morning” is emblematic of exactly what the title states; a slower guitar beat combines with layers of vocals, making a dark snapshot of a grey start to the work week—full of longing (or even regret) for the lost reverie of the weekend. And although snippets of lyrics can be heard in tracks like “Age Class,” where lead singer Shaun Darkin repeatedly sobs “There’s something in our blood,” Sports is not an album that propels its personal message through words. Atmosphere is the main language of the music at hand, and Weekend takes you through incredibly fluid changes in texture throughout the album, making the music feel like a mix of both a summer trip to the beach and the soundtrack of your worst nightmare. The music is both insular and exposed, and all kinds of beautiful.

Many critics are making the obvious comparisons between Weekend and other post-punk outfits: My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, and The Jesus & Mary Chain. Despite having very credible similarities, I couldn’t help thinking of more recent influences, like Liars’ self-titled album, and the earliest work of Sigur Rós, Von, while listening to Sports. These groups, like Weekend, craft music of sweeping crescendo and silences that coax the ear, rather than beating it into submission. Their diversity of sound ultimately makes for a more haunting and satisfying work. At best, Weekend are helping to pave the way to producing craftier and more nuanced versions of the popular post-punk sound, and at worst, they have just made a really, really good album.

Listen To The New Single From The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, “Heart In Your Heartbreak”


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is continuing to ride the wave of success they had with their self-titled first album for not only did they just release a new single, “Heart In Your Heartbreak,” but they are also hitting up the concert halls of the West Coast! The new single will drop on 7″ vinyl on December 14th, and their new LP will drop in March 2011 on Slumberland Records.

On tour they will be joined for these dates by Weekend, Stars, Sonny and the Sunsets and Glasser, so if you are in the general area of California, Oregon and Washington this coming week, be sure to check them out! Details are below.

Here are their remaining upcoming tour dates:

Nov 9 – The Independent San Francisco, CA (with Weekend)
Nov 10 – SoHo Santa Barbara, CA (with Weekend)
Nov 11 – The Loft UCSD La Jolla, CA (with Weekend)
Nov 12 – Echoplex Los Angeles, CA (with Weekend and Sonny and the Sunsets)
Nov 14 – Glasshouse Pomona CA  (with Stars)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Heart In Your Heartbreak by forcefieldpr