A Microphone & a Box of Dirt

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Bricks' only CD release is a compilation of their Winterspring cassette, two 7" singles, and several otherwise unreleased tracks. The album is out of print, but if you put your imagination to work you can probably imagine what the duo of Andrew Webster (Tsunami) and Mac McCaughan (Superchunk) would've been cookin' up on the four-track before either of their more recognizable bands had even formed. What's surprising is that A Microphone & a Box of Dirt remains a good listen. Granted, it does sound a bit dated and more often than not is strongly reminiscent of early Superchunk material (minus the attack of the rhythm section -- think "acoustic demo"), but the songs veritably ooze D.I.Y. spirit. The acoustic and electric guitars were recorded straight to the "box of dirt," as it were, and accented by percussion that sounds like someone whacking the mic with their hand to emulate the sound of a kick drum. The first of these recordings was made in 1988, and that places Bricks among the progenitors of bedroom engineering. If you can find it, A Microphone & a Box of Dirt is a great nostalgia trip, and will be especially fun for fans of the numerous projects McCaughan has spearheaded since.

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