Deep Elm wisely gives the opening slot of this stellar split release to Sounds Like Violence. "Push You Up the Stairs" is an insane doozie with the strength of ten tortured men, a direct descendent of Jawbox informed with the Scandinavian flair for stippling harsh arrangements and guitar squelch with great big piles of emotion. Woah. Bolgna, Italy's Settlefish is no slouch, either, as the band's three songs here prove. Best might be the angular guitar and insistent bass churn of "Who Placed the Dots on Dyslexia?," but the Afghan Whigs melancholy of "Glass Party" is pretty great, too. Desert City Soundtrack is another gem in Deep Elm's rock garden, and the Portland crew doesn't disappoint. Their couplet of tracks fall into deconstruction around Matt Carrillo's languid vocals and the piano/trumpet accompaniment of Cory Gray. This Desert City has as much in common with Smog as it does more noisy post-hardcore operators. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus