Lars Gotrich

Look: Big, dumb riffs are harder than you think. Palm-muted chugs and sidewinder pull-offs can rate on a scale of Honda Accord (safe, reliable, standard) to El Camino (muscular, mean, wild) depending on the driver who's stomping on the sonic gas pedal. Hair Puller was founded on this premise, and its 101 MPH sludge will pulverize your headbanging skull.

The staccato piano hits like concentrated bursts of firework, ambient tones stretching out the drama with dialogue: "There are moments in a rock star's life that define who he is. Where there is darkness, there is no you." Yup, it's a trailer for music biopic, all right, but cut with scenes of surreal fantasy. Enter: Rocketman.

Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl, Lilys, Lorelei, Stereolab — these are just a few of the artists who released 7-inch singles on Slumberland Records in the late '80s and early '90s. That's a helluva run for any label, but also remarkably prescient, considering the simultaneously softer and stranger indie pop that would follow.

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