Von Hayes: You Vape? (self-released, 2018)

May 17, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Von Hayes: You Vape?

Ten years ago, Von Hayes released Evident Eyelid, one of my favorite lo-fi rock and roll albums of all time. A brief EP soon followed, but the group seemed to disappear, and one of the members went down a very strange path with a long string of releases under the name Graham Repulski. Unbeknownst to me, the group’s members, now spread out between Philadelphia and Delaware, have been sporadically recording songs in their basements, and several singles have made their way to Bandcamp over the past couple of years. You Vape? is the culmination of these recordings, and it’s very much in line with their older stuff, with in-the-red guitar feedback sharing space with more introspective songwriting, and bizarre, fragmentary pieces carrying just as much importance as songs with proper verse-and-chorus structure. It doesn’t tip quite into the realm of dadaist sound art that some of Repulski’s work does, but there’s still loads of weirdness abound, such as the distorted, evil-sounding noise collage blaring in the background of “Ass Candy”, or the acid-trip vocal processing on “Tar Lob”. Good luck deciphering most of the lyrics, but some of them are more straightforward, such as “Exclusive Monk”‘s nostalgic refrain “I used to be cool a long time ago”. Longtime GBV associate Todd Tobias mastered this release, but don’t expect it to sound clean and polished; it’s as blown out, hissy, and confusing as can be, and all the better for it. Sometimes… you just gotta vape!

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