On Visits, Tammar pulls off a pretty incredible trick with each and every one of its post-punk anthems, probably something of which the band doesn’t take much note. They mine the classic sounds of paranoia, malaise and misanthropy (Joy Division, The Velvet Underground, The Fall and early 90s alt-rock), and fill it all with so much exuberance and joy of playing that each song becomes a triumph over anxiety and ennui. Visits finds each of the band’s five members stepping outside of themselves, but not in an snake-poison-ingesting, flopping-on-the-floor sense. It’s something else, something full of wonder. It’s witnessing a dear friend suddenly unveil an incredible hidden talent, as if that talent is levitation or some shit. These songs burst and evolve like water capsule toys. Warm beds of wobbly and fat-bodied krautpop prove to be overwhelming, atmospheric art-rock tours de force. You are left pie-eyed and windblown by the whole glorious affair. It’s the B-side of Neu! as pep rally music. It’s the kind of thing that would have flipped Old Man Peel’s wig in another place and time.
With the release of "I Live Here Now," Bloomington, Indiana's Tammar gets the Peel Session that, in another place and time, would have surely been due. Captured over three live performances at Bloomington's Russian Recording in July/August of 2009 and mixed by Zero Boys' Paul Mahern at Echo Park Studios, this collection of post-punk anthem variations is a testament to why Tammar is one of the midwest's most exciting bands, be it in the live setting or when laid to tape.
Like a less austere, more exuberant Section 25, the Factory Records sound is maybe the lowest hanging, most easily plucked fruit on the Tammar tree. But for the eager ear, there are a variety of flavors at play: Dave Walter's triumphant vocal explorations serve as a welcome renovation of Yoko Ono's most melodic moments or James' early 90s work with Brian Eno, always finding that golden hook through his phrasing and rephrasing. The subtle layers of Sarah Wyatt Swanson's drums and Josephine McRobbie's percussion as they build and build through each song are at once tribal and deft. Evan Whikehart's triumphant guitar progressions take The Edge to the art spaces and basements where that true "edge" really exists. And the elastic low-end of Ben Swanson's analog keyboard serves as the strange, dark foundation for all these songs.
Engineered by Mike Bridavsky & Dave Vettraino, Bloomington's Erin Tobey also appears as guest vocalist.
Working out the kernels of their corn-fried haze, Tammar is an exercise in balancing minimalist riffs with maximalist peaks & valleys. While the usual rise-fall theory of rock is tired, with Tammar there's a focus on the jam rather then cold hard numbers. On stage they are always a bit different - moments are stretched and condensed at will, and on record its no different. Minimal keyboards and drums bring to mind early Suicide while tripping guitars and theatrical accented vocals bring to mind the more paisley moments of Felt and U2, respectively. This four-piece from just north of Louisville, KY recorded these songs primarily live off the cement floor of the basement of Grotto Home Studios by the deft hands of Daniel Burton. Bending the materials of the world until the band itself is a conduit for feelings hot and wet and primal as sex. But that's not all. Tammar tastes the psychedelic aether, visiting the realms above as well as below, transmitting those good vibrations. Turn down the lights, turn up your stereo and rock these five hits of ecstasy.