"You’ve all heard about the one where you look into the void and the void looks back at you, right? How about the part when you see beyond the void and realize that it’s your bedroom wall, or your bag, or the sidewalk beneath you? Discovering this single was a lot like that, a lucid, longing jaunt fully within the context of reality, a hard stare into one’s own ideas of the human mind versus the mind itself. The artist is Lauren Likely, now living in NYC, who provided a role in developing the visual style of Olympia, WA bands as we know them from recent years (her work has been utilized by Sex Vid, Gun Outfit, Son Skull, Milk Music and others; see that really loopy, painted script on many Perennial releases or issues of NUTS! Fanzine and you’re looking at her work). Wooden Kimono is her musical sidebar, four minimal, moody pieces that sound like reading someone’s diary. Her voice is shaky but resolute, held up by a simple drum machine, her guitar playing all heavy scrape and phaser drills, feeding back into a karaoke machine on the verge of burning out. You don’t hear a lot of records like this anymore because it is very easy to be heard by others, and because of it, people are suspicious and careful. They follow genre conventions, while Wooden Kimono exists for just long enough to make these very personal reflections on pain and loss, coping with difficulties and social dynamics swaying in the face of utopia, despite all the hope and promise that land is meant to bring. These sounds sound as if they were hidden for you to find. Really, who’s going after something this inconspicuous when everyone else is yelling louder? Look beneath the surface – you will be blinded by the simple agony of this material, which, conspicuously or not, owes a debt to the hometaper boom of the ‘80s and ‘90s as it converged with the explosion of women reclaiming punk as their own, music that had to come out by whatever means. Once upon a time you had the ability to mail away for a K Records catalog and more readily find something like this (or the Heavens to Betsy cassette, or a Mecca Normal LP) which could destroy you with repeated listens if you let it, the sounds of being let down and lashed out in quiet, injured solace. Five-panel foldout cross sleeve w/ sketchbook renderings, vellum painting and an obi strip hold this miracle in place. My favorite release on Perennial yet, and an incredible comedown/bringdown record for this or any generation."
Lauren Likely, as New York's Wooden Kimono, has put out a 7" on Olympia's Perennial Records. With a fold-out sleeve and comes with a newsprint poster.
A1. "Trip/Lilly for a Heart"
B1. "Walking Around"