yy is the last release from ylayali, aka Philadelphia-based Francis Lyons (who also drums for Free Cake For Every Creature). We last featured ylayali back in 2015, when we covered his split release with Lung Cycles, which we described as “patient and intimate, enclosed in the same sense of everyday melancholy that makes Talons’ so great.” In other words, “that feeling of long afternoons in gloomy rooms, when the rest of the human population seem faraway and indistinct, like figures from barely remembered dreams.”

The new tape is similarly atmospheric, shrouded in a grey translucent graininess, sounding like heartfelt slowcore run through an antique tapedeck. ‘pb’ begins with a droning fuzz, like a giant mosquito at the other end of a long distance call, before the entry of turbulent guitar and clipped downbeat vocals, a combination that brings to mind Brian Borcherdt’s work as Dusted. Meanwhile, ‘cherry tomatoes’ is slow and murky, with a Trace Mountains-style slacker drawl, Lyons sounding stretched beyond caring into apathy, or perhaps beyond hurting into an emboldened state of nothing to lose.

“I’ll pick the cherry tomatoes out myself
swear I’ll knock those restaurant fuckers down”

‘bus’ sounds like a bedroom-recorded Low song, existing in a slo-mo freefall, all quietly desperate vocals and blown out drum rumble, while ‘inside yourself’ is warbly and distorted, a lo-fi pop track bubbled through some cloudy liquid. In comparison, closer ‘plastic bag’ sounds positively cavernous, a wonky lo-fi rock song with thumping percussion and squawking feedback.

The tape is a strangely satisfying mix of bummed out minimalism and expansive experimentalism, occasionally erupting in big staticky towers of noise. The lo-fi homebrew vibe adds rather than detracts, the blurry introspection sounding somehow very real, without a single molecule of sugary production to mask what Lyons is trying to say. Basically, it does what Lily Tapes & Discs have become very good at doing, and is a worthy addition to their catalogue.

yy is out now on cassette via Lily Tapes and Discs and name-your-price download via the ylayali Bandcamp page.