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Songs We Love: Woolen Men, 'Clean Dreams'

Woolen Men's new album, <em>Temporary Monument</em>, comes out Sept. 4.
Woolen Men's new album, <em>Temporary Monument</em>, comes out Sept. 4.

Woolen Men, <em>Temporary Monument</em> (Woodsist)
/ Courtesy of the artist
Woolen Men, <em>Temporary Monument</em> (Woodsist)

The sound of a band's joy turns to protest when ways of life are threatened. American cities of great size that once faced blight were revitalized as young people and artists started moving in and making their own fun. Now these areas are being hyper-developed and invested in by those wishing to capitalize on the culture they found there. The Woolen Men hail from Portland, Oregon, home to one such artisanal Armageddon; they were also one of the last few dozen bands to play at Brooklyn's Death By Audio, a famed neighborhood DIY performance space that was absorbed by the headquarters of a large media group late last year. The trio's fists-in-pockets approach has changed to suit these potentially disastrous occurrences—the expansive and innocent '80s college rock idylls of their 2013 debut, is now more focused and frustrated on their newest full-length Temporary Monument.

The Woolen Men's influences remain rooted in the decade of Reagan, finding their footing in the same paranoia that fueled bands like the Minutemen, the Urinals, the Feelies, and Big Flame, as well as contemporaries such as Parquet Courts. "Clean Dreams" opens Monument with declarations about empty-headed idealists and skyscraper condos, as Raf Spielman's hands stay as busy as his voice, his guitar strumming out a swarming anthill of clean-channel aggression, while the rhythm section of Alex Geddes and Lawton Browning telegraphs a punchy, danceable bop to keep this march on its toes.

Temporary Monument is out on Sept 4 on Woodsist.

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