National Music Reviews January 2016

Review: Self Defense Family – When The Barn Caves In

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Self Defense Family
When The Barn Caves In

Iron Pier
Street: 11.27.15
Self Defense Family = me-withoutYou + Embrace + The Fall

With J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airline) Midas hands on the controls, nothing ever goes wrong. This two-song single and photo album released on American Capitalism’s favorite holiday, Black Friday, embodies Dischord’s post-hardcore spirit. Self Defense Family’s songwriting continues to sharpen into well-crafted swords. Robbins shapes the raw and ephemeral in a manner that resembles a listener’s very own private show. Guitarist Benjamin Tate weaves a musical narrative that rivals the lyrical ones. Normally, the band explores character sketches outside their own musical circle. The most revealing track, “Alan,” tries to make sense of multi-instrumentalist and photographer Alan Huck’s departure. The diary entry explodes with grief and ends with acceptance. –Stephan Wyatt