The Lindsay do Syrup Bag
The Lindsay’s micro-psychedelic masterpiece, Dragged Out, was quickly regarded as one of the finest homegrown records Columbus had heard in a long stretch of time. The stars seemed to start aligning for the fairly unassuming quartet – they had a stunning debut, a searing live show, and a label that appeared to be doing things right. I don’t know all the facts as to why Man Up dissolved, but it did, and with that, slowly it felt the Lindsay were crumbling molecule by molecule. Nothing happened. The logical next step was to get the rights to Dragged Out (as it will likely be reissued years from now as a one-off classic – damn, someone needs to press it on vinyl immediately, but I’ve been screaming that from the beginning) and tour, record, tour, record, release delectable sophomore album to critical acclaim and crowds across the country. Nothing happened. Sure, the band would play the occasional live show, and the songs from Dragged Out stood the test of time, survived on the stage past expiration, which is indicative of the group’s dedication to playing and the quality of their hooks. But truly, nothing was happening. They were the one band in town that didn’t seem to hew close to the burgeoning lo-fi movement who were actually worth venturing out to see (but also wholly embraced by the TNV/PHS/CDR/BOBO mafia). So it was almost depressing, at least extremely frustrating, to see it all squandered away.
Nearly three years later we get an explanation in the form of Syrup Bag. In that time the Lindsay have, for better or for worse, become a staple in the bars – no real progress when it comes to topping the tunes on Dragged Out, but raging in synchronicity and genuine energy. When I first heard about the Syrup Bag release show, I was already underwhelmed, thinking maybe it was a joke as the band is known to have an acerbic wit about them. But in seeing them on stage for the first time in months and subsequently going straight home to hear the seven songs that make up Syrup Bag – I realized they have been growing. Not exactly sure if they’re growing in revolt of their recent stasis, or if the growth is borne of anger and indifference – but this was certainly not expected.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Syrup Bag sounds as if it’s come from directly off the stage. Gone are all the effects and extra layers that glazed Dragged Out – intricacies that lent the songs an aura befitting the album cover’s paisley wonder illustration. But that’s fine when a scorcher like “Change My Oil” and “Thurston Moore Sez” piles on the guitar squalor till there’s little room to breath. The similarities to Sonic Youth continue unabated and unashamed. Just check out that last title, they’ve got a god and they’re going to use him – more like abuse him. I actually think what the Lindsay crib from Sonic Youth they put to great use. The lead “It’s Not Easy” is just as ferocious as anything on Daydream Nation, cut with the melodic sensibilities SY has found in recent years. I’m just imagining guitarists John Olexovitch and Tom Schmidt as a Moore/Renaldo destructo unit twenty years younger, with plenty more fire in their souls and hooks in their head. I may be in the minority here, but I never thought SY had that many hooks – intriguing atonal intangibles and hipster ooze sure, but hooks? No.
Look, this isn’t a competition, but right now I can’t hum you one song from this year’s Eternal LP. The seven songs from Syrup Bag? Won’t leave. I suppose it’s that the Lindsay add everything to their angular thrash that I’d wished Thurston Moore would add. Plus the Lindsay have that worn-in, homegrown, humility to them. That’s especially with bassist Gretchen Tepper bobbing, weaving, and shouting through all the boyz noise. She’s somewhat the Flavor Flav joy to Olexovitch’s Chuck D glum – and packed within the words are tales about why this all took so damn long. Local meta-indie rock about the little band that could, then couldn’t get it up. Too bad the life cycle of a band is so short. The Lindsay have only been around for a little over three years and I was already prepared to write their eulogy. Thanks for changing my mind…..kids.
By the way…..you can fetch the entire Syrup Bag digitally, right here.