August 29th, 2014 | Album reviews

“Hotspur” b/w “Wait” cassingle
I Love You Just the Way You Were Records

The gang in TÜLIPS have been so busy doing so many other things recently (right now, Echo Park scenesters probably associate Taleen Kalenderian’s face more with DUM DUM ZINE and the Echo Chamber’s summer series of events than with anything as normal as making music) that I’m half surprised they could even get a new album together. But indeed they have, and here’s the proof: the album’s first single, coming out on cassette today-ish on I Love You Just the Way You Were Records.

Don’t wait until the whole album comes out to hear these tracks. Grab this single while it’s hot, and while L.A. is still blistering: these songs have a burnt crispness to them, perfect for reminding you that summer still has about a month to go, and that the juiciest of loves and friendships and excitements and sexy shirtless Polaroids can shrivel up in the light of day just as fast as a tape left on your car dashboard.

Kalenderian and the band’s other singer, Angie Bloom, always swap songs and instruments live, and so of course they each take a side for themselves here. A malicious part of me wants to pit the two songs against each other and tell you which one is “better,” just because it’s a dirty trick on their friendship. But these are true A and B sides, paired off for contrast rather than competition.

“Hotspur” on the A side (I assume it’s the A side, though the band seems reluctant to choose sides) comes out of the Kalenderian gate with rage and self-loathing and a sarcastic smile, with lots of guitar and Taleen’s 90s riot-grrrl style tremolo vocals, and not a few handclaps. (It “spurs” fantasies in me of what Belinda Carlisle might have gotten up to if she’d never dropped the moniker “Dottie Danger” and had saved Sid Vicious’ life by getting him to play bass with her in Superchunk.) Despite the fact that I keep hearing Kalenderian sing the title line as “Ohhhh, you Hapsburg,” this song is infectious, accusatory without being petty, enthusiastic without being shallow, and sure to put bodies on the dance floor during their upcoming tour (care of drummer Travis Barnes’ tough but tight beats). This is gonna be the one your friends love most.

But you, ya Joan Didion quoting, Diogenes-translating, beret-almost-considering, L.A. RECORD review-reading brooder, you will be settling in with the slightly more moody, introspective B side, “Wait,” in which Angie Bloom’s voice pools up like thick mercury against the thermometer mark of each new word in her summer confession: “All my friends have gone! I can’t see the sun. I’ve been racing around the world, listening to rock and roll.”

While your friends are boppin’ their little heads around to the A side, you’ll be reclining in the corner with “Wait” wondering if perhaps you, too, are pushing your friends away and missing magical moments by being so busy with art and culture and writing that you don’t even realize when the people you love the most are moving on, without you. But take heart in knowing that the real friends will wait for you. They’re not going anywhere. They’ll be right here, sweating, dancing the fuck out of this single.

At least, until it melts in the sun.

-D. M. Collins