If I were better at ever writing album reviews or composing year-end lists of favorite albums, you would have already heard me singing the praises of The Vardaman Ensemble, the skronky post-rock-and-jazz-in-a-blender side project of The Harvey Girls’ Hiram Lucke. Their 2015 EP Unthank Park was an unexpected delight, a blast of cold water to my ears’ face. (Sorry, I’m a little sleep-deprived at the moment, I realize how incoherent that sentence was but I’m leaving it.) There is guitar, there is saxophone, there is a Gameboy, there are tons of effects pedals and herky-jerky stops and starts; it’s all a wonderful burst of controlled chaos – and hey, it’s free/name-your-price! Get the whole EP right here.
I’m hoping The Vardaman Ensemble and Terwilliger Curves (the next track up), both being based in Portland, will play some shows together soon. If they do, you should go and give them a Ball of Wax high five.