Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics - Woodsist
FILTER Grade: 80%
By Breanna Murphy on March 2, 2011
On sandy shores not so far, far away in New Jersey, Matthew Mondanile is one of several central figures meandering the like-minded suburban scene—alongside the howling, anthemic Titus Andronicus, mellow daydreamer Julian Lynch, fuzzy underagers Big Troubles and other neighborhood co-conspirators. Mondanile, known best as the lead guitarist of Ridgewood’s laidback groovies Real Estate, has issued split 7”s, CD-Rs, LPs and cassettes (most of which are long out-of-print) as Ducktails since his Hampshire College days. Past releases have varied between bedroom power-noise and hazy dream-studies—largely instrumental-driven ditties with minimal, distorted vocals—keenly lo-fi and united by warm textures and an immediate, undeniable likeability. What the Duck lacks as a vocalist is usually made up for by a smart sense of melody. His most conspicuous release to date, this Woodsist debut remains recognizable (“Porch Projector”) while transforming into straightforward stoner pop more in line with a Real Estate release (“Killin’ the Vibe”). In spots, it’s a too-saccharine sip, but by the time “Art Vandelay” drifts in, Mondanile’s uncovered cache ultimately washes down all.