Torres/Motel Beds w/Kelley Deal: "The Harshest Light" b/w "Tropics of the Sand" (Misra) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Torres/Motel Beds w/Kelley Deal

“The Harshest Light” b/w “Tropics of the Sand”


May 29, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

For Record Store Day 2014, Dayton, Ohio’s Misra Records released a 7” record with a new song by Torres on side A and one from Dayton’s own Motel Beds on side B.

Torres is currently working on the follow-up to her eponymous 2013 debut, and “The Harshest Light” is a song both new to this 7” and unavailable digitally anywhere. The first thing one notices about the record, when the needle touches down, is that the vinyl pressing is fantastic. The sound is magnificent, like Torres is whispering right into your ear. And the track builds upon everything that made Torres’ debut so marvelous. As she delivers her heart-wrenching, introspective lyrics, the track envelops, then fades away, over and again. Torres’ voice remains the focal point around which everything revolves, occasionally dipping down into its lower register, barely hitting the desired note, as if scraping her soul’s deepest bottom, before rising like a phoenix and railing against the instrumental backdrop before the track wraps. The emotion in the lyrics, the vocals, and their delivery makes the track one that demands repeated listens.

Motel Beds’ “Tropics of the Sand” is equally great, if nowhere near as intense. The song is taken from the band’s forthcoming These Are the Days Gone By, an album that reintroduces the band in many respects, with 12 songs culled from previous recordings recorded with new parts, and including a sparse acoustic cover of Matthew Sweet’s “I’ve Been Waiting.” Featuring Kelley Deal singing harmonies, “Tropics of the Sand” is lo-fi brilliance that’s perfectly befitting of Dayton, perhaps the birthplace of lo-fi brilliance. Subdued melodies and lazy harmony hypnotize, almost (and I said almost) allowing the track’s perfect pop melodies to go unnoticed. The instrumentation is spare, providing fuzzy guitar backdrop for the vocal innocence of the singing. When Deal sings out, the track is made. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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