Rraaiillss – 1098 (Hiatus Interruptus)

September 10, 2010

[Still on leave of absence, but I threatened to post as events warrant and this is one of those events…]

Sometimes something strolls into your life, dressed in pencil-thin leather pants, a ratty black t-shirt featuring a band you wished you’d heard of, radiating a confidence born of too many all-nighters and careless cigarette usage, all topped with an impossible hairdo.

As it leans casually into the nearest darkened corner and watches everyone else trying too hard, you get the feeling that it knows something you don’t. This is confirmed when it says, with a mixture of bravado and resignation, “I know something you don’t know.”

And you know that you’ll never really know what that “something” is because if you press, it’ll be gone. It has a million other places it could be. But for right now, it’s tantalizingly close. Close enough to touch but miles away internally.

This “something” was SPF85, which enigmatically sauntered into my life a few months back, bringing with it the memories of formative musical experiences. Specifically, it conjured up the time-and-place intersection of a newly flexed independence meeting the brothers Reid and their 1-2-3 punch of Psychocandy, Darklands and Automatic.

Rraaiillss, in a little under 4 minutes, channeled the life-changing sounds of the Jesus and Mary Chain, a band so confident they played deliberately antagonistic white noise gigs and served notice to the music world that not only could you harness a Beach Boys melody to an impaled amp, but you could do it without a drummer.

Not often can a song take you back 15-20 years while making you glad to be alive here and now. Only a rare few tracks can turn you back into the 19-year-old you were, breaking free of radio’s compressed myopia.

All of this overlong, incoherent intro is simply a meandering way to call your attention to the debut of Rraaiillss’ album, 1098, currently available to purchase and/or stream over at bandcamp.

As those of you who have heard the demos know, it’s incredible stuff. The JAMC touchstones are still very much there as one man band Adam Anderson maneuvers through this 12-song set. It’s a late-80s college radio feel so authentic you can practically see the department store Vox and its ridiculously small amp buzzing away in someone’s garage late at night, delivering hormonal riffs unfazed by the cheap-as-hell stock strings and faulty pickups.

But other influences are at work as well. Halogen arrives in a burst of white noise, landing somewhere in the neighborhood of My Bloody Valentine and Curve, all churning guitar undertow pushed along by a tireless drum machine set to “stun.”

FlossyNossy pushes its way into your carefully organized albums, making instant friends with your Chapterhouse LPs and House of Love singles collection.

Unlisted lucky 13th track What Time Is It? camps out on the Thames with the forces of the British Invasion, lugging with it a very welcome but somewhat impractical Wurlitzer.

All in all, a remarkable debut. It’s perfect for long drives during moonless nights or sunbaked, somewhat hungover, weekend mornings. It’s good-natured bad vibes, slightly warped and coated in restrained guitar fuzz. Catchy as all hell, too.

Buy/stream here:

Rraaiillss – 1098



  1. Good pick. For me, it triggers no nostalgia. I like artists like this because they have the confidence to say: “Listen, I’m going to do something obviously derivative and fairly simple. You’re going to like it because it’s so good you’ll forgive my trespasses.”

    • Well, I think you’ve nailed it, especially for everyone else who obviously didn’t go through the same personal experience I did.

  2. When you right about music it seems to be effortless, and it reads like honey

    • Thanks, Ruby. It was pretty effortless and upon rereading it, I had to go in and fix several spelling errors. Now it should read more like honey and less like hunny.

  3. Capitalist, you’re back! 🙂 As usual, my lack of expertise in musical matters makes me wholly unworthy to comment. Instead, I stop in for the concepts, analysis, ideas, commentary, your readers comments (I enjoy them all!) and beautiful words. Ah, the words: sauntered, warped/amped/fuzz, hormonal riffs, compressed myopia and of course the songs…Psychocandy (almost as good as Psychokiller), etc. You are truly a word magician and Ruby2Shoes nailed it: “reads like honey.”

    • Well, I’m not back back, but I’m still in touch with the outside world. Thanks so much for the compliments and for stopping back in to this recently-neglected blog.

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