Hoffenheimer Frieren

Slowcore gets a new name, and so does Ottawa's Jon Bartlett with the release of Hoffenheimer's debut, Frieren. Bartlett was last seen in a bright orange hunter's cap fronting his country band, Greenfield Main, or high leg-kicking out both lights and the jams with Rhume. But here he joins with Recoilers bassist and Greenfield Main-er Rolf Klausener for an over-the-top concept album that's slow, quiet and designed to be slept through. They're posing as the German duo of Klaus Heimer and Gustav Hoffen, who like frilly shirts and vaseline if their photos are any indication. They play dreamy, tripped out pop songs that sound like a collection of the best really slow songs any indie band put out in the last five years. Klaus and Gustav also run with the German thing, at least as far as song titles and quoting from Wings of Desire. And like a good European band seeking North American success, of course they sing in English. Bartlett manages yet again to pull off his best trick: to make something completely defined by its genre ¾ the GBV of Rhume, alt-country of Greenfield Main and now this Low-ly effort ¾ yet make an excellent example of it. It's a trick the Coen Brothers pull off with equal panache; it makes the surprises better when you're first convinced there are none coming. (Kelp)