Today is Black Friday in America. Everywhere you turn we’re sure you’re seeing ads within ads on top of ads telling you what makes the perfect holiday gift. Everyone from the lowliest list-post blogger to the Sunday Styles section at the New York Times is coming out with unsolicited advice about the most coldly efficient way to warm the hearts of friends and family- and no doubt the thinkpiece circlejerk on the true nature of giving and receiving is well nigh upon us.
Of course we’ve got our own scorching hot take on Christmas gifts, and here it is: The best gifts are the ones that people will like and use often, but won’t ever buy for themselves. Sometimes you’ve got to give your friends exactly what they want, even if they don’t know they want it.
With that sentiment in mind, you should go to the Metro Gallery on Sunday and buy records from each band playing as gifts for all your friends who like records. Trust us on this. It’ll save you a trip to the mall and your friends will thank you later.
As the Chop’s own special holiday gift to you, dear Readers, we’re pleased to present you now with a gift most rare and pleasing. The Chop is at this hour in possession of of a few brand new, unmastered and unreleased tracks from one of the city’s best local bands, Us and Us Only. How did we get them? Did we bumble around the Motel 6 on North Avenue with flashlights and Lucky Strikes, Nixon Style? Did we don our best Guy Fawkes mask and hack the iCloud, Snowden style? Did Kinsey go back in time a hundred years and plant them in the Mount Vernon time capsule Marty McFly style?
Santy Claus brought ‘em. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. Check it out:
Even being as raw as they are it’s clear that these tracks are a little deeper, a touch heavier and more deliberate than most of UaUO’s previous work and is another good step forward for Charm City’s erstwhile folk favorites.
They play alongside Portland’s Johanna Warren and Philly’s Square Peg Round Hole, who are each worth coming out for in their own right. But we’re going to make a bold prediction here: Mitski is going to steal this show.
We know it’s terribly lazy music writing to just compare a new artist to a large established act but nobody’s giving us a Pulitzer anytime soon so we’re just going to say it: Mitski reminds us of PJ Harvey. That’s high praise not only because of how amazing an artist PJ Harvey is, but because Mitski manages to call her to mind without being at all imitative or derivative. Her sound is her own brand-new thing in the world.
As soon as one drops the needle on her new record Bury Me at Make Out Creek the natural and only acceptable reaction is: “Welp, the rest of the day is shot- going to have to listen to this non-stop. Grace, be a doll and clear my calendar…”
Keep that in mind before you click play below.