Agitated Atmosphere: Brick Mower – Under the Sink

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Brick Mower.

Music can spawn a lifetime of deep reflection, often based on a few simple chords and the ability to wrap a melody around your brain like an extra layer of skull. Often it’s the most basic of music that sticks in cerebral wrinkles, firing along with neurons when the appropriate moment arises.

It’s this primal callback that infects much of Brick Mower’s latest LP, Under the Sink. As the title suggests, the album (released via Viking on Campus) is as blue collar as it implies—the New Jersey trio is workmanlike in their blend of power pop and post-punk. Pipes are dislodged, crud eradicated with hammering drums and snaking riffs in the matter of minutes; eleven songs in under 30 minutes—if only plumbers could work as efficiently.

Under the Sink may recall a bevy of 80s and 90s bands that carved the college, indie, and punk circuit but don’t let the nostalgia trip you up. Brick Mower isn’t a cheap imitation; in fact the band’s not an imitation at all. This isn’t some Warholian pop art replica, this is a band willing to roll up their sleeves and pound on their instruments until quality (if brief) anthems of everyday life form. Brick Mower celebrates life as it is, not as it is dreamed to be. Songs such as “Instant Rectification” and “Lungs Can’t Handle” speak to the ho-hum of daily living, a theme revisited throughout Under the Sink to great effect.

Listen to “Instant Rectification”:

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Enjoying the art of music is a luxury. Brick Mower, however, pour the foundation for such highbrow approaches. A two-minute statement here, a three-minute exposition there, Under the Sink keeps the pipes freely flowing and the mind sharp. Leave the deeper moments in the clouds for a day and find yourself in Brick Mower’s world—you’ll find that Under the Sink becomes your new life line when life beacons.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. He also pens Deserted for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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