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Masters of the Hemisphere

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Album Review

Unlike many of their compatriots on the Kindercore label, Athens, GA's Masters of the Hemisphere have little truck with cloying cutesiness or deliberate lack of musical sophistication. The lead duo of singing songwriters Sean Rawls and Bren Mead (helped out by drummer Jeff Griggs, multi-instrumentalist/secret weapon Adrian Finch and seemingly half of the Kindercore/Elephant 6 posse, including the Music Tapes' Julian Koster on accordion) know their late-'60s Beach Boys records, but they're not bound by simple imitation, and one gets the idea that the occasionally lo-fi sound is due more to financial constraints than stylistic affectation, which makes the muddiness of songs like the dreamy "Saucy Foreign Lass" more forgivable. The eight songs are varied and eminently likeable, from the '60s-style psych-pop (with trumpet) of "Billy Mitchell" to the New Zealand-style propulsion of the organ-based rocker "Everybody Knows Canada," and Rawls and Mead have appealing, unaffected voices. While superficially not all that different from many other Kindercore acts, Masters of the Hemisphere have songwriting smarts and instrumental and arranging chops that set them apart.

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Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Athens, Georgia-based indie pop combo Masters of the Hemisphere were founded in 1996 by singers/songwriters Sean Rawls and Bren Mead, longtime friends who by high school were already veterans of a series of bands including Jasper's Arm, Vetran, Volcano Clutch, Eat Rice on Friday, and Linus, many of them documented on cassettes released via the teen duo's Everybody's Wearing Them label. When Mead's family relocated to New Mexico, he and Rawls continued writing and recording independently, planning...
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Masters of the Hemisphere, Masters of the Hemisphere
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