Split releases have always played a keystone role within the DIY scene, bridging gaps between artists and the social circles around them. This communal approach to releasing music is why I have so much excitement about DIY; it’s very easy to emotionally invest yourself in artists and because of this the music really benefits. This new split by talented Chicago chums Options and Brownie Mountain is yet another example of this.
The split opens with ‘Real Nice’ by Options, the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Seth Engel (also of Bathing Resorts). It instantly stands out with its beautifully intimate presentation, touched with a small amount of reverb. Despite its stripped back appearance the track has incredible complexity, guitar parts dance around your ears confidently but are softened by the glow of the sweet captivating vocals. ‘For What’ attracts attention with fuzzy vocals buried subtly in distorted guitars. Its punky brevity makes it an aberrant yet comfortably nestled centerpiece to the split. Brownie Mountain’s (awesome band name) ’Strawberry Fields Whatever’ (awesome song name) has more of a math rock vibe to it, but sits perfectly alongside the two Options tracks. The textures of the track comprise the same cheerfulness that is pertinent their previous efforts, Space Hardware EP and Good Goals, and the addition of a vibraphone is a refreshing take. Some of the gentler sections of the song remind me of American Football EP, both in production and instrumentation.
The split passes by too quickly, leaving me with a moment of unease every time it finishes. Worth picking up if you are a fan of Mike Kinsella’s solo project Owen. Both bands have a wealth of material behind them for you to explore and enjoy.