New Radiant Storm King

My Little Bastard Soul

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The 1993 debut album by Northampton, MA's New Radiant Storm King was in print for seemingly about 15 minutes before it became one of those much-discussed but little-heard indie rock icons. Reissued by the local indie Wormco records in 1999, complete with a second bonus disc of previously unreleased tracks called The Castle, this album sounds in retrospect like the work of a young band trying to outgrow its influences. Foremost among those influences, apparently, are those twin towers of Massachusetts noise pop, Mission of Burma and Dinosaur Jr. The Mission of Burma influence is most recognizable on the brief noise interludes that break up the album, with nonsensical titles like "Nevada" and "Christmas Quaalude." The Dinosaur Jr. influence comes through in Matt Hunter and Peyton Pinkerton's dry, laconic vocals and the way that fractured pop hooks suddenly appear in places one wouldn't expect, as on the centerpiece track "Surf King." Some judicious editing wouldn't hurt, as this is one of those 60-minute CDs that starts to pall after about 45 minutes, but this is a promising debut nonetheless. The almost immediate follow-up, Rival Time, would more than deliver on that promise. The bonus disc, The Castle, is for diehards only. Consisting of most of their never-issued debut, One Day Rust, which was lost in Rough Trade's dissolution, along with the 25-minute title track, recorded for a production of a play, The Castle proves that New Radiant Storm King really needed to get the kinks out before committing themselves to tape.

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