Bipolar Vortex by Ranch House
Cover art credit: Ginny Chu-Kemmerer; 'Big Sexy's World' painting by Charlie Kemmerer
Ranch House, my new favorite band, can now be yours, via their brand-new debut album called Ranch House. Brooklyn-based husband-wife team Josh and Sherri Machlin cook up minimalist Dada pop somewhere between Ween, June and Johnny Cash, and the Velvet Underground. Inside the Ranch House, they're friendly, funny hosts that seat you on a plastic-covered couch and serve you a cheese sandwich, an ice-cold PBR, and three shots of cough syrup. Synths and drum machines may sound soulless in some contexts - but in the Ranch House, things stay loose. The tempos and sync are free to meander as needed, vocals are delivered simply and without affectation, and strings (bass, guitar, and violin) swoop, thump, croon, or growl, fluently. It takes great skill to layer these textures and still sound off-the-cuff. On top of all of this, the duo sings stay-in-your-head melodies carrying observational humor in the small, with a hearty dash of the absurd. Among my faves are "Pumpernickel Paradise," "Lint Catching," "Be Here Now," "Teardrop Glow," and "O.C.D. IT (Guy)."