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Every once in a while a tape like this comes along to remind you that, no matter how many bands the underground has spawned, there will always be new sounds out there waiting to be discovered. Ostensibly DC’s Priests play post-punk, but with an emphasis on the “punk,” which isn’t surprising given the frontwoman’s involvement with Ian Svevonius’ Chain and the Gang. Fortunately, Priests avoid sounding stale and overly nostalgic, as some recent post-punk can, by incorporating a dark sense of melody and some of the traits of the noisy, guitar-based “indie rock” of the late 80’s and early 90’s, just when punk was experiencing a sea change but before these bands became a recognizably separate genre. Darkly melodic, unhinged, noisy, and truly interesting, this tape epitomizes what post-punk should be in 2013. Priests get their noisiest on the fantastic “Say No” or the anthemic, oddly X-esque “Lillian Hellman,” but they are also capable of genuinely beautiful moments, as on the slow-burning and gently throbbing “Twelve.” Though these three tunes are probably the highlights of the tape, at least for me, one could easily choose any of the other songs on the tape as Priests’ best. Either way this is one of those releases that you absolutely need to hear as a whole to grasp Priests’ unique vision, which, though they have their roots in the past, is singularly compelling enough to compete with any release thus far in 2013. This cassette is available only on their tour via their own label, Sister Polygon, but if you can’t catch them live then be sure to stream it on bandcamp, because this music needs to be heard.

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