Simple Machines Working Holiday: January

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Simple Machines' monthly Working Holiday singles' series kicks off with arguably its strongest one-two punch -- both sides are superb. Scrawl's powerfully melancholic "11:59 It's January" deftly captures the false optimism that the New Year's clean slate portends -- one calendar may give way to another, but otherwise it's the same crap, different annum, especially for the brokenhearted. Versus' "Tin Foil Star" ostensibly celebrates the anniversary of the first rocket launched to the moon, but the subject of space travel is merely a decoy for Richard Baluyut to explore more universal themes of isolation and loss -- his guitar blasts from chiming weightlessness to interstellar overdrive, while Fontaine Toups' surging bassline recalls Joy Division's Peter Hook at his most propulsive.