Soft Shoulder Copy Machine Fall Down 7″ (Gilgongo)
Soft Shoulder has always kind of been Gilgongo’s James Fella and whatever friends he can recruit at any given time, as opposed to a solidly formed band, now that I think about it. On this new two-song single, he’s got two different and formidable crews, who make it one of my favorite Soft Shoulder releases to date. “Touchless Display” is noisy indie-punk with a semi-functional reggaeton beat and a vocalist doing his best syllabic recreation of Mark E. Smith. This leads to a sound not unlike a bargain-basement Von Südenfed, or The Mae Shi meeting Pixeltan outside of Liars’ practice space circa 2001, which probably happened. Soft Shoulder were a trio there, and they inflate to a quintet on “Treat For Samson”, including Deerhoof’s John Dieterich, and it’s a gloriously scattered free-improv jam. It’s elastic and limber, like a yoga session where you actually do turn into a pretzel, complete with plenty of fluttering horns and Derek Bailey-informed guitars. It’s over six minutes, and while I’m hesitant to say I wish it was twice as long, I’ve found myself playing it repeatedly, happy to inhabit its woozy shuffle and involuntary spasms. I’d have to put in a little research to be certain, but I’m thinking this 7″ might be the best Soft Shoulder have ever sounded!