B.O.T.S & Celebration Guns Present: The Wondergaze Split

So I had never actually pondered that B.O.T.S. and Celebration Guns would sound so freaking good together until I got a hold of The Wondergaze Split. Granted, I knew that Celebration Guns sounded good with Twin Ponies because of their split release and countless live shows in which I’ve seen them together, but I never pondered this combination. I should have, I have an ear for sound and usually match make perfect sets in my head of lineups for evenings I’ll probably never see, so it bothers me that this never occurred to me in my mind. These are two of my favorite local acts and I’ve seen them a lot live, but I’ve never seen them together. Upon listening to them it all makes sense, why I like them so much, hell, throw Morning Theft and Twin Ponies into this mix and you’d have four bands that could take over the world or at least this scene, throw in Genre and Bad Neighbors and you’d have a festival. Sorry, there I go again making up dream lists of evenings I’d like to have. Now, back to the music.

This is one of the split releases where I don’t have a favorite side or band, both come in great and I have to believe that may be due to the mastering at Audioconfusion. Once upon a time bands used to release split 45 rpm records and they were brilliant. On one side you would have two songs by one on band and on the other two songs by another. I would only like this release better if it was on vinyl because I have a record player, but I don’t have anything that plays cassettes–oddly, I have a accumulated a shit ton of cassettes in the last year or so. I never thought I would have so many new cassettes in 2014, never once. But here we are and here is yet another great cassette release, luckily we also live in the digital world and you can listen to this entire split endeavor below on bandcamp. This is indeed one of my favorite split releases of the year and some of the finest work from both bands involved.

Celebration Guns have come a long way from their debut demo EP a little under a year ago and their direction is uncompromised. Sure, their arrangements have become certainly more complicated, especially the percussion magic of Timothy O’Brien, but they have solidified their sound–still shoegazey with pop hooks and an indie rock afront that astounds. The opener of “Old Habits” is a perfect example that leads in with a moment of haze before the drum assault and over the half the song is instrumentation before any lyricism even begins, which is brilliant. It borders on Math Rock at this point, but with a pop sheen. The lyrical melody is almost reminiscent of early XTC, which couldn’t please my ears more. “Former Lover” is a more up front melody and indie pop rock endeavor. I like the unusual arrangements in their rhythm and instrumentation because it literally tickles my brain (no, I mean literally, not figuratively, I know what words mean). The time changes, the random acts of aural kindness, all blow my mind. The best moment is the bridge when the song subtly changes and announces “I was desperate to run for cover or the comfort of another, but you chose a different way in the guise of a former lover.” Just an amazing song through and through. As alwaysm Celebration Guns leave me with a desire to see them over and over again, an you should to, they have so much to offer your ears.

B.O.T.S. was a band I ignored for far too long and I have no idea why. No one mentioned them to me, maybe they just assumed I knew about them, maybe they were sure that I had obviously recognized their genius, but somehow they were all wrong and the first time I asked about them I got nothing but horrified reactions. I am not omniscient, sometimes I miss some amazing shit. Eventually I caught up with B.O.T.S., well just in time really and I was overjoyed to enjoy them for all that they are and all that they seem to become. “Niagro Punk Ops” is an instant single for immediate release as far as I’m concerned and it should receive regular rotation on KWSS starting today. Like Celebration Guns, they have complicated arrangements here, songs that are thought out in a compositional sense that massage my mind. Their music excites me on emotional and intellectual levels. This makes me look forward to their next EP or album, because it appears good things are in the works. I’m not going to lie that I have a soft spot for the vocals of Angel Martinez and on “Music Lesson”, his prowess is at the fore front, beautifully. Yes, there is an amazing funky, self propelling groove happening here, the arrangement is less complicated, but it’s the vocals here that make this song so fucking fine it blows my mind. I can’t shake this song from me for hours after hearing it.

Tonight is the release of the magnificent split cassette release! Catch Celebration Guns and B.O.T.S  at Time Out Lounge in Tempe releasing this wonderful work, with support from Hasty Escape and There Is Danger! Have any doubts? Give a listen below!