Release Date: Sep 20, 2011
Record label: Slumberland
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop
After releasing a thoroughly impressive debut album that had enough whirling noise, ferocious energy, and shards of feedback to single-handedly relaunch noise pop/rock, Weekend’s second major release, 2011's Red EP, focuses more on the subdued textures and graceful melodies that occasionally surfaced on Sports like swimmers bobbing on faraway waves. The band scales back the noise attack in favor of a nuanced approach that gives Shaun Durkan a more prominent role and balances the noise with more atmospheric dynamics. They haven’t forsaken the overloaded sound entirely; it still bubbles below the surface and creeps into even the poppiest moments.
When the then unknown quantity that was Sports landed on the doormat around this time last year, its monochrome sleeve giving little away other than the title and artist's name. However, once the nine songs its cavalcade of sonic destruction were made of had landed within earshot, it barely left the confines of my stereo. However, the mysterious three-piece responsible for such an astonishing record, Weekend, remained just that; a relatively obscure trio from the San Francisco underground.
Weekend‘s debut full-length album, last year’s Sports, may have shared its name with Huey Lewis & the News’ most famous record, but the two came from polar sonic hemispheres. In fact, the San Francisco trio’s gnarled shoegaze seemed to sullenly scorn the album’s title, the melodies gasping for air from under a dog pile of white noise and frontman Shaun Durkan’s cryptic lyrics of suburban alienation. It was a chugging, if gloomy, affair from three Bay Area dudes who probably didn’t play a lot of sports or Sports growing up.
Maybe the best thing about Sports, last year's bruising debut from San Francisco noise-poppers Weekend, was simply how refreshing it sounded. While so many other lo-fi acts were still messing around with balmy haze and Nuggets jangle, these guys took the sound down darker, more aggressive paths. The album's marriage of squall and melody wasn't really anything new, but just by channeling a different set of influences-- post-punk, shoegaze, the Jesus and Mary Chain-- Weekend's music felt so much more visceral than their peers'.
Slumberland Records has made an industry out of reviving the C86 and shoegazer/dream pop movements. The label’s most notable signing in recent years is, arguably, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, a band steeped in dreamy, hook-laden noise-pop of years bygone. Another Slumberland act, Weekend (not to be confused with the hip-hop/rhythm ‘n’ blues act the Weeknd), has released an EP called Red that is both a follow-up to last year’s Sports LP and a teaser for a yet-to-be released album set to drop sometime in the coming year.