Spotlight

Roomrunner

“”Ideal Cities features this hard-hitting cut, “Weird”, a honed distillation of the early-90s Seattle dynamics their EP suggested and their strongest track yet. Deftly eschewing much of Vague’s blurry fuzz and processed vocals but none of its feedback, noise, or mathy energy, “Weird” packs even more anxious, no-future punch.”” – Pitchfork

We started Fan Death Records back in 2009, and ever since, we’ve seen two common tropes frequently pop up courtesy of a specific type of rock critic: the flustered search for an answer to “whatever happened to ROCK MUSIC?” and
bold proclamations that “rock music is BACK!” The truth is, few live experiences compete with seeing a great, LOUD rock band, and Roomrunner’s chunky riffs, soaring hooks, and back-to-basics-get-in-the-van attitude just about make them an anomaly in 2013. On their debut full-length, Ideal Cities, Roomrunner refract the past 25 years’ worth of Guitar Rock innovations into their fully-realized vision of “chunch and bunge,” in which echoes of shoegaze noise-blur, grunge squall and snark, math-rock chops, and meaty Alternative Rock power moves coalesce into the essential guitar record of 2013.

Recorded by bassist Dan Frome at his studio, Ideal Cities is the first Roomrunner offering recorded as a full band. Prior EPs, the self-titled Roomrunner (2011) and Super Vague (2012), were written and played by Roomrunner singer/guitarist Denny Bowen, and while landmarks in their own right, the full-band Roomrunner is a whole different animal, ready to come down there and kick their collective boots around. The record starts off fullbore, with the truTV-inspired anthem “Bait Car”. Their rhythmic pedigree is showcased on tracks like the stuttering “Wojtek,” where start-stop verses and propulsive drumming recall 90s titans like Helmet and Drive Like Jehu before the song collapses into one of their most melodic moments yet during the chorus. Side B starts with the one-two punch of “Weird” and “Duno,” two long-time staples of their live set driven by squealing feedback, which spark mosh pits and crowd-surfing in sweaty Baltimore warehouses. Tracks like “May” and “Snac Error” give a bit of breathing room, fusing the off-kilter guitar work of Polvo and Chavez, with the quiet-loud tension of 90s legends like Slint and Hum. The names they garner comparisons to may be heavy, but Roomrunner’s catalog thus far has definitively proven that they are no mere pastiche. Any dorks can make a record with a deep understanding of Loud Rock—and let’s be honest, a lot of them do—but on Ideal Cities, Roomrunner harnesses a discrete range of powers to forge a thrilling and vital path forward.