Helping to Put the Slow in Slow Core

Seam “The term slowcore, generally used interchangeably with sadcore, refers to a subgenre of alternative rock that developed from the downbeat melodies and slower tempos of late 1980s indie rock”.

“The term is most commonly used as a journalistic shorthand for music with depressing lyrical themes, slow tempos and minor-key melodies”.

Unlike “Straightedge” slowcore was never a specific music scene and besides Seam groups labeled as slowcore notably include: American Music Club / Mark Eitzel, Cat Power, Codeine, Elliott Smith, Galaxie 500 / Damon and Naomi, Low, Mazzy Star, Red House Painters / Mark Kozelek and Bill Callahan (Smog).

Starting out as a trio Seam formed in Chapel Hill, N.C. with Sooyoung Park on guitars & vocals, Lexi Mitchell of Bitch Magnet on bass and Mac McCaughan of Superchunk on drums.

Released in 1992 their debut album Headsparks

“was filled with the slow, affecting melodies and vocals that would become their trademark”.

Following the release of Headsparks McCaughan left the band to concentrate on Superchunk full time. Leaving Chapel Hill for Chicago the band replaced McCaughan with Bob Rising and added an additional guitarist, Craig White. The Problem With Me released in 1993 featured this new line-up and a somewhat more upbeat sound. 1995’s Are You Driving Me Crazy? featured an entirely new line-up. Except for Park the band now consisted of Chris Manfrin (drums), William Shin (bass) and Reg Shrader (guitar). After a three year hiatus Seam released The Pace Is Glacial in 1998. This album finds the group moving towards a more conventional song writing approach, but except for the opening song, “Little Chang, Big City”, the album with it’s instrumental monotony and Park’s uneven singing pales in comparison to the group’s earlier releases.

 

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles and EP’s

“Days Of Thunder” 7″ (Homestead), 1991
“Granny 9X” 7″ (Merge), 1992
“Kernel” 7″ (Trash Flow Records), 1993
“Kernel” 7″ (Summershine Records, Aus.), 1993
Kernel cd ep (Touch & Go), 1993
“Hey Latasha” 7″ (Che Records), 1995
Sukiyaki 7′ (Ajax Records), 1999

Full Length CD’s

Headsparks (Homestead Records), 1992
The Problem With Me (Touch & Go), 1993
Are You Driving Me Crazy? (Touch & Go), 1995
The Pace Is Glacial (Touch & Go), 1998

Compilations

Grunge R.I.P. 1992 (City Slang, Germany)
Slanged (City Slang, Germany)
Our Band Could Be Your Life: A Tribute to D Boon and the Minutemen (Little Brother Records), 1996
Lounge Ax Defense & Relocation (Touch & Go)

 

Headsparks (1991)

Playing Time: 33 minutes 47 seconds

Headsparks

1. Decatur (3:20)
2. Grain (2:52)
3. Sky City (2:39)
4. Pins & Needles (3:26)
5. Feather (5:33)
6. Atari (3:09)
7. King Rice (3:09)
8. New Year’s (3:06)
9. Shame (1:44)
10. Granny 9x (4:49)

Buy Headsparks from Amazon.com

Are You Driving Me Crazy? (1995)

Playing Time: 43 minutes 5 seconds

Are you Driving Me Crazy?

1. Berlitz (3:14)
2. Hey Latasha (3:34)
3. Port Of Charleston (5:59)
4. Rainy Season (3:13)
5. Two Is Enough (5:29)
6. Haole Redux (2:57)
7. Tuff Luck (5:20)
8. Broken Bones (3:48)
9. Sometimes I Forget (6:05)
10. Petty Thievery (3:26)

Buy Are You Driving Me Crazy from Amazon.com

The Pace is Glacial (1998)

Playing Time: 48 minutes 35 seconds

The Pace is Glacial

1. Little Chang, Big City (4:54)
2. Get Higher (3:04)
3. Wig (1:31)
4. Intifada Driving School (3:16)
5. Kanawha (4:20)
6. Nisei Fight Song (7:23)
7. The Prizefighters (2:59)
8. In the Sun (3:24)
9. Inching Towards Juárez (6:29)
10. Pale Marble Movie (5:27)
11. Aloha Spirit (5:48)

Buy The Pace is Glacial from Amazon.com

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