Homespun: Bruiser Queen 

"In Your Room" b/w "Ms. Everything"


Credit the sheen of dingy reverb, the reedy combo organ squeaking in the background or the genre-appropriate seven-inch vinyl format, but garage-rock duo Bruiser Queen sounds righteously ragged on this single. It's not that last year's Swears full-length sounds clean or polished; it's more that the band embraced a flubs-and-all looseness on these recordings that favors economy and grit. Morgan Nusbaum's guitar is rangy and reverberant throughout, giving her vocals more to push against. That means her voice — which has shown remarkable range and control on her solo project — simply pile-drives through these songs. For "In Your Room," double-tracked vocals allow Nusbaum to go primal on the lead vocals and coo along in the background as her own girl-group choir. The platter's B-side, "Ms. Everything," is less memorable, with a herky-jerk guitar line and a repeated verse that are a little by-the-numbers.

Luckily, the seven-inch comes with a download card for the two vinyl cuts as well as three more songs, making this a pretty nice hybrid vinyl/digital EP. "Hooked on Sympathy" has a bit more spunk in its portrayal of a punk-rock, Pixies-showgoing cad. The coo-coo-ed opening of "Alien" sets up the program's most musically robust piece, especially for a band content to bash it out with three chords. The chord progression is both sinister and entrancing, and the organ notes add an eerie counterpoint. The more open structure gives drummer Jason Potter a chance to cut loose throughout — he's a great engine driver, but the fills here help the track bloom. The bonus tracks end with "Black Coats White Fear," originally by Memphis band Lost Sounds (which featured a young Jay Reatard and River City Tanlines' Alicja Trout). Potter and Nusbaum share lead (shouted) vocals here, closing out the set with requisite bark and furor.

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