TEST PRESSING: Circlesquare, “All Live But the Ending”

[Photo by Zoe Bridgeman]

These days, it’s hard enough to find an EP that’s worth 13 minutes of our time. Cheers to Circlesquare, then, for making us listen to “All Live But the Ending” on repeat for the past week. And the beauty of it is we still can’t pinpoint why this song’s ensnared us like old TV on the Radio tracks. (See such TVOTR standards as “Staring at the Sun,” “Dreams” and our personal favorite, “Blind.”)

Maybe it’s because the thing’s spooky and spare–a widescreen crime scene we can’t help but stare at. Or in this case, the unraveling of Circlesquare’s star, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/sometime filmmaker Jeremy Shaw. As the curtain opens on “All Live But the Ending,” Shaw is suffering from a severe case of the shakes. From what we don’t know, but the cure is clear from the start–the guy wants to go out “dancing, tonight,” and not come back home until “the drugs are gone.”

While we realize how superficial and oh so hipster-y that must sound, Shaw’s beguiling vocals and cold, steely songwriting isn’t ironic or cheeky. It’s the stuff of waking dreams … or nightmares, depending on who you ask . Give him a second to reveal a slithery hook here, or a speaker-flexing bass line there, and you’ll be in the palm of his shaky, sweaty hand until the sun comes up.

Oh, and by the way: the rest of Shaw’s long-awaited new LP, Songs About Dancing and Drugs (can the sarcastic comments until you listen, please), plays out like a lost David Lynch script as well. So much so that we asked him to write a Lynch guide in the next digital issue of self-titled. Watch out for that next month, dropping right around the same time as Dancing itself.


Circlesquare, “All Live But the Ending”