Olympia's Desolation Wilderness combines ghostly atmospherics with scintillating poppy guitar work, sounding as though its members learned to play music from listening to a steady diet of Galaxie 500, Big Star's Third and Codeine. The live version of Desolation can be startlingly forceful, as the band also manages to pull off the sonic characteristics of a lo-fi recording down to the tinny imperfections that make such endeavors so endearing to those preferring human imperfection to the polish of digital correction. Some would chalk music like this up to "sad bastard music," but really, it's songs written by and for people who don't have issues with being vulnerable and emotionally open. Named after a starkly beautiful stretch of El Dorado National Forest, this group's music, too, evokes a dreamy tranquility even as it rocks your socks off.
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