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Too Old to Die Young

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Album Review

On Too Old to Die Young, Tall Firs move away from the underground electric folk of their self-titled debut and toward experimental rock, trading trippy introspection for a more fleshed-out, structured sound that still has an organic warmth in its intricate guitars and artfully shambling drums. By sharpening their focus and turning up the volume, Tall Firs also strengthen the similarities between their sound and Sonic Youth — "So Messed Up" and "Hippies" recall the avant-jam band epics that Thurston Moore has been perfecting since "The Diamond Sea," and Too Old to Die Young's overall vibe recalls the laid-back friendliness of Moore's Trees Outside the Academy. However, this is also some of Tall Firs' most wide-ranging work: "Good Intentions" dives into textural rock with searing guitars, "Warriors" builds from a whispery start to a noise maelstrom, and "Lookout" has a stillness that recalls Tall Firs despite its charging dynamics. The band even tries out some poppier fare on the surprisingly sweet and hopeful love song "Hairdo," while the wry melody of "Loveless" feels like commiserating at a bar after that relationship goes bust. And on "Secrets and Lies," a duet with the Jealous Girlfriends' Holly Miranda, Tall Firs map out confessional territory that many of their peers couldn't approach. A rare mix of intimacy and experimentalism, Too Old to Die Young will resonate with indie rock fans who know what that album title really means.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Playing what they call "underground electric folk," Tall Firs began in 1990, when singer/guitarists Dave Mies and Aaron Mullen were still teenagers in Annapolis, Maryland. The pair taught each other to play guitar by learning Circle Jerks and Sex Pistols songs, but didn't play a gig until 2001. In the interim, Mullen worked with Chris Corsano, helped record other bands as an engineer, and also worked as a guitar tech for Sonic Youth. Mies, meanwhile, played with various bands in Baltimore. When Mies...
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Too Old to Die Young, Tall Firs
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