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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Places to Hide: 'Almost Nothing'

Places to Hide is a '90s Chapel Hill indie rock band that formed in 2013 ... in Atlanta. Sprouting from the local DIY scene, the group has formed less than a year ago, and has recently released its debut full-length, Almost Nothing, via Irrelevant Recordings and Out Of This Records on LP and CD respectively.

Although Places to Hide's roots are planted deeply in the '90s, the group is no nostalgia act. Lead by primary songwriters Kyle Swick and Deborah Hudson, the group's approach to overdriven guitars, spastic drumming, and boy/girl yelling/singing is steeped in honesty and packed with hooks - a refreshing take on an old genre that's been beaten to death by the Brooklyn contingency as of late. Taking queues from old school indie rock stalwarts such as Superchunk, Sebadoh, and even hyped up newbies like Yuck, the Hiders play catchy indie-punk anthems that leave just enough vulnerability and naiveté to make them irresistible.

Almost Nothing takes shape as a trip through your twenties: Love, lust, drugs, and student loans. The guitars hit you hard to knock you off balance so you falter just enough to lean on a friend for stability. With lyrics like "You asked me if I was lonely/ Well, I don't think I'm anything/ so when I say it's all OK I hope you don't believe me," in "Drugs Pt. 2" how can you not be taken back to the worst/best years of your life?

The magic of the album is revealed two songs into side 2 with "Drugs" romanticizing drug-induced escapades with a lover. It is biting, sweet, and seductive: a juxtaposition of feelings and words that songwriters rarely achieve so successfully. This precarious balance culminates in an album that's exceptionally crafted, pound for pound and hit after hit.

When Hudson sings, "Undressing for you, it sounds exhausting," in "Drugs", she really means it. But you don't do anything about it, because, well, you're in your twenties and you just threw up in the trashcan at work.

Places to Hide play tonight (Wed., Oct. 2), at Capsule Gallery with Bodyfather, Ex-Wife, and Nona Mecklenburg. $5. 8 p.m. (doors).

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