Telemarket – Ad Nauseam

Rating: ★★★½☆

If you don’t know Telemarket, you should check them out. I didn’t, and thanks to an email from Adam Wayton, lead singer and producer of the 5-piece band out of Athens, GA, I was turned on to their debut album, Ad Nauseam, released in late August for the first time on Science Project Records, an affiliate of Cloud Recordings. Sidenote: If you don’t know what ad nauseam means, go look it up, says your English teacher. Hit the jump for full review and tunes to stream.

Definitions aside, I always enjoy a fun colored-vinyl surprise, and I let out a little “ooo” when I slid the creamy reddish-brown marble wax out of the sleeve. Turns out, every copy is a different unique color, or “random-colored vinyl” as they put it. Another thing to love.

Ironically, I’ve been listening to a lot of R.E.M. lately and somehow didn’t know they were also from Athens. And the B-52s. And Of Montreal. Anyway, call it fate that Ad Nauseum is currently next to my semi-recently acquired copy of Automatic For the People.

According to the back cover, Ad Nauseaum is “34 minutes and 34 seconds about living the same day over and over and over again.” Well, we’ve all been there. Recorded during the pandemic when we were all going a little crazy, the theme is no surprise. Yet, unlike the album name, the songs don’t feel repetitive. The sides blend and build on each other in a way that simultaneously goes by fast but also feels like a slow blur. As I listened a few times, I lost track (ha…I crack myself up…) of which side I was on.

Perhaps it’s also no surprise I was reminded of fellow Georgia-hailing Deerhunter, particularly Halcyon Digest, a personal favorite. I dig the southern swampy sound of bands coming from this region. Minor chords, distorted vocals, band members with long hair and oversized T-shirts and a no-nonsense look about them, but in a Southern way that means they’re probably super nice. It’s fuzzy, dirty swamp rock with a little bit of grit, a little bit of dare I say, Skynyrd, and a lot of guitar.

That said, side A track 2, “How’s About Now?” sounds slightly akin to Morning Phase era Beck. But the real banger that stopped me in my tracks is side A track 7, Under the Sun. Alright, now we’re talking.

The other standout is side B track 3, “In My Head,” which I actually thought was part of the previous 52-second intro, “Hanged Man.” I like the way the latter leads into the former, starting out slow and ending in a crescendo where they let it all out. I do wish there were more angsty, loud songs like my two favorites on the album, but I guess I’ll have to check out more of their discography to find out what else they have going.

Who should listen: If you enjoy lo-fi garage rock and the sound coming out of Athens lately. If you prefer to see shows at divey dark clubs where you might get your shoes dirty or a drink spilled on you. If you like the Black Lips, King Khan & the Shrines, or Twin Peaks. Or early Futurebirds. Speaking of, if you’re reading this, Womz, you still owe me a postcard from 2013.

Although they’re a self-proclaimed “slacker rock phone scam,” Telemarket is not a scam. Give this record a spin or two and see where it takes you.

Ad Nauseam is available to stream in full below and also is up for physical purchase over on the Telemarket bandcamp page.

Ad Nauseam by Telemarket

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