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Courtesy of Ben Chlapek
Across Our Wide Missouri is the first by Nevada Greene, an ambient, post-rock quartet that features both of Dismal Niche's founders—Ben Chlapek and Matt Crook.
By Jonas Weir
Dismal Niche is Columbia-based record label that releases music both digitally and on limited cassette runs. The label, until now, has only released music from Columbia artists. But it will soon release cassettes for artists as far away as Canada and Serbia. Read our full story on the label in the June 2014 issue of Missouri Life. Until then, feel free to listen to and download the songs above.
Here's a short guide to the bands and artists on Dismal Niche.
Neatly Knotted: Graphic artist, musician, Dismal Niche founder, and Liberty native Ben Chlapek writes and records his music under the oxymoronic moniker Neatly Knotted. His lo-fi, reverb-laden pop and ambient explorations are quite catchy, and his album Mountain of Youth is a one of the label's best, most accessible releases. Check out his art and his music; both are great.
Jules Crespy: Twenty-one-year-old Columbia native Jules Crespy may be the youngest on the label, but his music is profoundly mature. His voice has quivering fragility, but his songwriting is confident, from the sweet, imaginative portraiture of "Elder" to the rawly emotional fulmination on "Coward." Listen to his first album, Untitled, here.
Nevada Greene: There's no immediate gratification with post-rock, ambient quartet Nevada Green; their music subtly seeps into your conscious. The delicate guitar pick, graceful violin, and ambient soundscapes of Across Our Wide Misery will leave you wanting more as soon you realize you've listened to the entire album. They play around Missouri often, usually with captivating video projections, so try to catch one of their live shows. And check out this artfully made music video for "Of Wind or Vertigo."
Maxito Lindo: Flamenco-influenced, yet completely original, the music of Max Garcia-Rubio is just as strange as it is relatable. He has been a staple of the Columbia music scene for years, but his first recordings as Maxito Lindo were just released last year. The debut album features what you think might be folk songs, until you catch on to the disconnected, off-the-wall structure and vibrantly poetic lyrics. Hear some songs off Fingerless here.
Grand Mal: Grand Mal definitely falls under the hardcore umbrella, mainly because of the raspy, screaming vocals. But this band takes cues from post-punk, doom metal, goth, and classic punk. Listen to their dismal niche release here; it's more than hardcore.
Hott Lunch: The now defunct band Hott Lunch was an exciting act that perhaps burned too brightly. Their first, and only, self-titled album was the second release on Dismal Niche. Check it out here for everything from perfect pop songs like "Bodacious Waves" to Spacemen 3-style psych jams like "Green Grass."
Vulvette: Steph Foley, under the name Vulvette, is a slow dance hit machine, or at least that's the name of her first album. Her music ranges from musical sketches that feature flute and plenty of analogue warmth to gospel, blues, and folk-inspired songs that are that easy to sing along to. She's currently working on a set of songs that tell the story of a murder in the Ozarks.
Poi: Caleb McMurry is seemingly nonplussed at how good his music is. Teenage Dolomites is electronic, bedroom krautrock, like if Kraftwerk stayed up all night drinking Mountain Dew in their dorm rooms. The comparisons are plentiful when it comes to Poi, but the verdict is that it's really good. Currently, though, there is no website for the project.
Dung Lung: Dung Lung is trippy, DIY, folk rock. Dan Fister, who previously played drums in Rip Rap, writes and records theses muddied, spaced-out songs. Although it was a do-it-yourself effort, with no mastering, the album feels and sounds fully formed and fairly accessible.