2.23.22 by Matty McPherson
Mail days here at Tabs Out West Coast HQ are always a strange affair. On top of the usual suspects (select tapes from select labels) arriving in suspect packaging, there’s always a litany of freeform free-for-alls. And on the downtime of an elongated pseudo-winter vacation, there is an opportunity to employ radical heuristics and find which of those latter tapes tickles my fancy the most. Blind bag days are a vicious treat when you know you’re on a hot streak. Although I somehow always end up back in the primordial womb of indie rock; maybe that’s just unavoidable to return to my safest roots.
Anyways, Dawn of the Jawns (Vols. 1 & 2) arrived in crude plastic cases with even cruder, more rudimentary Jcard and liner notes (naturally printed on printer paper). Yet, forgoing the aesthetic presentation I took a leap of faith. Homan’s recordings are retrospective, with both volumes covering his “antisocial experiments” circa 2007-2009 in Philadelphia. He writes candidly and reflectively of these recordings aimless, pained attempts at straddling a line between noise and music. Most of the college recorded tunes lean towards a certain Baltimore four-piece in their halcyon era. And while I imagine Homan did “collect all the animals” at some point or another, there’s a bonafide level of trance emanating. More often than not, Homan’s raw musicality (lo-fi recordings of guitar with reverb and effects) entices and acts as a damn sturdy window to a time that feels unarchived and lost to layers of code. Spectacularly, it radiates and glows.
The first tape is genuinely an indie rock tape at heart. Underneath the acoustics and limitations, Homan’s trusty guitar and gaggle of effects are a jukebox of myspace melodies, reflecting song structures that you may have half memorized and will likely fit like a glove. It’s eminently warm and freeing, which Volume 2 often uproots. Slabs of Homan making attempts at beguiling noise a la Danse Manatee are found in and around the tape (alongside the occasional spoken word excerpt or campfire melody). Yet, Homan’s recollections and curation do find a pathway to a semblance of where his projects will err towards. All I know is that there’s no way this tape had to be as listenable and fascinating as it looked, yet here I am, clearly in a sort of trance over the whole state of affairs. Keep it like a secret.
Edition of 6 available at the Alex Homan bandcamp page