QUICK SPINS: Split Single, Sweet Apple
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 6, 2014 3:30PM
Split Single photo on left by Marina Chavez, Sweet Apple photo on right by Andrew Kesin.
Two supergroups, of sorts, release two really satisfying albums. Thank god.
Jason Narducy has turned into the go-to sideman for everyone from Bob Mould to Robert Pollard to Telekenesis to Liz Phair to Superchunk. But Narducy rose to prominence through the Chicago music scene, most notably spending a decade leading Jason & Alison which then morphed into Verbow. He's back in the frontman spot leading Split Single, a new project that sees Narducy backed by a few famous friend, Spoon's Britt Daniel and Superchunk's Jon Wurster. The resulting debut from the new band, Fragmented World, is lush and shimmering power pop that picks up where Narducy's Verbow left off. There's a little bite in there, you can feel the influence of Narducy's more hard rocking endeavors in tunes like the fuzz bass driven "Searched" and the urgent "Made For Breaking." But most of the time songs veer towards territory balancing achingly lovely under structures with rock and roll heart. Fragmented World builds on the past created by Cheap Trick and The Beatles to give Narducy and his friends an excellent basis for us to step onto as we enter the beautiful expansive, many-faced world created by their songs.
Sweet Apple's debut Love & Desperation was a sweet-hearted, messy collaboration by a bunch of friends whose main gigs in other bands allowed them the freedom to just unwind and have a bunch of fun. It was apparent in every guitar strum and drum thump, and on the band's sophomore album, The Golden Age Of Glitter they're still managing to have fun and make it all sound fresh and new all over again. With a roster that draws from—and this is a just a taste of the group's pedigree—Dinosaur Jr., Cobra Verde, Guided By Voices, and Witch, it would be easy for Sweet Apple to sound like a bloated tribute act to themselves. Instead we get another blast of an album that has its roots equally in The New York Dolls and hair metal of the best sort. Even guest vocal turns by friends like Mark Lanegan, Robert Pollard and Rachel Haden get swept up in the festivities where in front of other groups they might have overpowered and bent the party too close to their will, whether intentionally or not. But nope, J. Mascis, Tim Parnin, John Petkovic, and Dave Sweetapple strut and pump up the glam while painting with fiery riffs to create, well, their own golden age of glitter.