The finished album, set for a Nov. 9 release, recalls Sonic Youth's mid-1980s records in its plateau-hopping sequencing and cohesive instrumental passages. Opener "Coma Summer"'s wilting chord progression and slashes of noise suggest that while the band still probably sounds best in a basement ("We'll play your Sweet 16," Pedroza jokes), they grasp the dramatics required of a larger room. "Monongah, WV" would kill either — it's one of those charmed post-punk tracks that simultaneously lilts and thrashes, overflowing a tightly wound three minutes. The more self-conscious stabs at transcendence, like slow-churning "Monday Morning" and epic "Veil," can seem a little ponderous, though the kaleidoscopic fusillade climaxing the latter is worth the wait. Throughout Sports, the rhythm section works a full-court press, a nice counterpoint to the shambling side of the San Francisco sound.
Sports comes out the same day the band opens for the Pains of Being Pure at Heart at the Independent, and the guys are clearly basking in the company of the Slumberland revival. While several of the new additions to Mike Schulman's label play at fey, Weekend steers back to the edgier sounds of groups like Whorl, the Lilys, the Ropers, and Schulman's own Powderburns. "It's a crazy legacy that we're learning more and more about," Johnson says. Like all the Slumberland acts, Weekend wears its '80s and '90s influences on its sleeves, but I'm struck by Durkan's answer when I ask about the group's touchstone albums.
"Most of the records that inspired us are pretty obvious: Loveless, Unknown Pleasures, Disintegration, Psychocandy," he writes. These records were made painstakingly, and we were inspired by that thoughtful process of creation.... That process of discovering love for a record, having to work at it, always leaves me with more of an appreciation than when I'm instantly won over." Rearticulating the slow victory of great records is a welcome gesture indeed from a still young Weekend.
with Tamaryn; DJ sets by oOoOOO, and Nako and Omar
Sept. 15, 9pm, $8
647 Valencia, SF