“American English mixes the improvisational style of jazz masters with the DIY spirit behind bedroom pop projects.” – The Alternative
The Craters Stream New Album American English via The Alternative
Out Today on Designer Medium Records
photo credit: Andrew Gibson
Listen to American English
The Craters new album American English is out today via Designer Medium Records (Flower Girl, Datenight, Hellier Ulysses), streaming in full on The Alternative. The solo project of Boston DIY mainstay Wes Kaplan, The Craters are gracefully blurring the lines between ramshackle lo-fi psych pop, art-rock, slacker punk, and experimental noise music. After sharing singles “Suburban Lawns” (Impose Magazine) and “I Was Around” (Thrd Coast), the project is excited to share American English in its entirety, a disorienting trip though bedroom derived noise and lush pop hits. Speaking to the record’s mix of sounds, The Alternative said, “He’s pushing boundaries and growing sonically, but underneath all of the mixing and effects, it’s still Kaplan.”
Kaplan has built himself an underground following in Boston’s DIY scene without social media and rare live appearances. His music exists through word-of-mouth and the strength of his songwriting, which really does speak volumes. Half into the world of home recorded noise pop and half into lo-fi psych, American English is filled with unpredictable hooks and swirling pop songs that take shape as you listen. It’s a memorable record of warped songwriting and colorful effects, recorded at home and manipulated to the sonic beyond.
“Light-hearted guitar-picking flutters over a somewhat garbled low-end, no less meticulous; they play off each other in a way you’d think it the soundtrack to butterflies during mating season.” – Impose Magazine
“A mixture of The Beach Boys, Animal Collective, and garage rock, [“I Was Around”] builds around lo-fi guitars, a steady beat, and a catchy melody. The song is mostly peppy and graspable—with a good dose of pop—but it also has darker, more complicated undertones, marked by unexpected intervals in the guitar, interesting phrasings, and the quickly descending vocals that don’t offer up the lyrics easily until the echoing refrain that gives the track its title.” – Thrd Coast
April 7, 2017
Designer Medium Records
1. Bad Map
3. Capital Quotes
5. Suburban Lawns
7. I Was Around
8. Shhh Peacefuk
10. No Bricks No Temples
11. You Think Too Much
The Craters Is Wes Kaplan. Born and raised in Boston, MA, Kaplan sits in his room and records another collection of songs that fall somewhere between Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys, My Bloody Valentine, Merriweather Post-Pavilion style pop and complete noise-abstraction. Neurotically edited, Kaplan’s music is pleasing to the ear whilst still obtaining a death that can be explored upon further listens.
Kaplan’s main interest is in mixing the absurd with the beautiful, and how context can change how something is heard. All of that aside, the hooks and catchiness of his songs are simply undeniable.
American English, Kaplan’s follow up to the Kids Can Tell EP (both released on Nashville label Designer Medium) shows him still serving up artistically expressive pop numbers with his classic use of strange lyrics that deal with subjects like God, the uncompromising ambiguity of relationships, beauty, and just plain old walking around. His mix of conventional rock instrumentation and electronics is subtle to the point one may not even notice at first. At points he completely deconstructs sounds and ideas to present bare pieces of a whole, completely torn apart and left on display, while at others he has a well crafted, sturdy compositions begging for replay.
American English is Kaplan’s most uncompromising and honest statement to date. Kaplan takes songs and turns them into compositions, he takes bedroom-pop and turns it into chamber music. For the lonely, misunderstood and yet loving college kid in all of us.
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