(Self-released, digital download)
Porch View EP, the debut recording from Burlington garage rockers Apartment 3, plays like a soundtrack to blurry summer nights in a ramshackle Old North End or student-ghetto hovel. If you came of age in the Queen City, you likely have some notion of what that means. Maybe it was your later college years, or your aimless early twenties — or, in the Neverland that is Burlington, your aimless thirties or forties — but that period of growing up conjures, for many of us, a distinct sort of nostalgia. It's a sweet, sweaty scene, sketched in shitty beer and bong smoke, framed by rickety porches littered with cans, keg cups and cigarette butts. It's dirty and cheap and destructive — but also beautiful in its way.
Over the course of five belligerently lo-fi garage-punk cuts — recorded with the aid of Burlington's reigning prince of lo-fi belligerence, Joey Pizza Slice — Apartment 3 capture the seedy charm of those steamy, wasted nights. Sounds like the band is following that age-old axiom: "Write what you know." Vocalists/guitarists Dylan Adair and Ivan Marrinson, bassist/vocalist James Tierney, and drummer Jon Kraus met while living in the same BTV apartment building. So my guess is that they applied some diligent listening research to Porch View, likely with the Pixies, the Dead Kennedys and the Melvins on the stereo.
Opener "These Days" sets the tone — or lack thereof — with fuzzy guitars, rumbling bass and chaotic drums. No lead vocal credits are given, but the song's punky hook, "These days / Still the same / They never change" imparts the requisite slacker-punk charm, colored by Pixies-ish falsetto background "oohs."
The Frank Black worship continues on "Fly Away," which sounds like a long-discarded Surfer Rosa demo. And I mean that in a good way.
"Floorboards" maintains a similarly sludgy, manic direction as the preceding cut and seems concerned with the self-loathing aftermath of an ill-advised hookup: "This is that. Lust filled. Crime encountered."
"Odd Jobs" offers a welcome shift. Though the overt Pixies influence is still there, the cut boasts more ear candy than previous tracks. It also has a killer, shout-along hook: "Unlike the last time / things will stay the same / Unlike the past time / things won't stay the same / It always does / I'll quit but the work is never done." If you've ever worked a string of shit jobs to get by, that's some relatable stuff.
"Pissin' My Heart Out" closes the record like a drunken stumble home after a party. Like those bleary-eyed walks, the song is by turns oddly serene and strung out. Ultimately, like one does in the gauzy clarity of a withering hangover, Apartment 3 come to an epiphany the next morning: "But it's not worth it anymore, / not worth it anymore."
Porch View EP by Apartment 3 is available at apartment3.bandcamp.com.