Stove is a band you can’t ignore.
When it was thought that Ovlov (look them up if you don’t know them) was breaking up, guitarist and singer Steve Hartlett formed Stove, so he could still do something with the songs he had been writing.
Their debut album Is Stupider contains songs that I now seem to listen to on a daily basis. Hartlett’s vocals are always a prominent component of these songs with their often introspective and melodic feel. The guitar often surrounds the vocals with a full and fuzzed out sound that would be interesting enough to listen to on its own.
In “Dusty Tree” like in many other songs, the influence of Dinosaur Jr. can easily be heard in the heavy yet melodic guitar. Hartlett’s vocals are wistful and witty and work well with the instruments to satisfy that craving for loud, melodic, and meaningful music in a way quite similar to Dinosaur Jr.
Despite the obvious comparisons though, Stove does not launch into guitar solos nearly as much as J. Mascis and tends to stick with repetition and short blasted solos that quickly return to the original riffs.
“Dusty Weather” is a quiet song played at a loud volume. The guitar repeats the same chord progression quite a lot, but the song remains intriguing and conveys a great deal of emotion through the lyrics before giving way to a carefully constructed and brief solo.
“Aged Hype” is a great song to blast while driving. The vocals are screamed a bit more than usual, and the guitar is loud yet catchy.
“Well I’ll feel better off in the summertime
when I can lay down and enjoy the grass
Survived through better times when you’d
showed all you had been through”
This is exactly the kind of song I can imagine everyone at a show screaming along to. It starts quickly and does not lose its energy until it’s over. At the same time, though, it contains meaningful and interesting lyrics.
Aside from Is Stupider, Stove has also put out two EPs. Is a Toad in the Rain has an amazing song called “Graduate and Congratulate” that is almost funky and is catchy in a way their previous songs were not. This EP also has a song called “The Oregon Trail,” which is an instrumental and has a more experimental, post-rock approach.
Is the Meat that Fell Out was just recently released earlier this month and contains the song “Blank,” which is sung by Jordyn Blakely (who is also in Jackal Onasis). Much like “Graduate and Congratulate,” this song is quieter and catchy in a way you might not expect at first. After listening to Stove for a bit though, it quickly becomes clear that they are a very versatile band and are not focused on retaining one specific sound.
Also on that EP is “I’d Walk a Mile for a Camel,” which is a song I could listen to all day. Sometimes Stove has a slight shoegazey feel with the guitar and vocals taking on such a full and introspective sound. In this song, the reverb in the vocals as well as the up-beat rhythms work well with the guitar to create some quite noteworthy melodic noise.
Stove is certainly an impressive band and is currently making some of the most interesting music I have ever come across. Many thanks to Exploding in Sound Records for making me aware of such an incredible band.