19 July, 2016

Tagged S02

25 June, 2016

It's like when Cobain screams "pain" on "You Know You're Right"

Over the course of the - How long have I been doing this shit for again? Almost ten years, I guess - Yeah, I'm not looking it up. Over the course of the almost decade, maybe more that I've been doing SD&A, even going back to when it was a snotty little MySpace blog, I decided to not write negative record reviews, referring to John Peel's philosophy that if I didn't like a record, it was my fault, not the band's. After all, I'm the one who doesn't get it and that's not on the band. They're pouring their creative energy into this record that they've made and they have a target listener and that listener, in this instance, isn't me.
So, at times, when I was handed a record I didn't like, I pawned it off on the other writers here or, failing that, I tried to be diplomatic in my approach and just stick to what the record sounds like and explain why I, personally, am not feeling it.
Thankfully, those records were few and far between and even records I wouldn't ever listen to again had moments that tripped my trigger. So I could say something like "Boris Yamsocket is a five piece Casio-core band from Terre Haute and their new triple LP, From Here to Extremity, is, admittedly, a little twee for my tastes. In deed, a song like 'Rippled Nipple' strikes me as downright juvenile but it can be forgiven when one considers the near-perfection grandiosity of the side five closer, 'Almighty Nighty'," and that would be, I think, fair. (Also? Not a real band.)
I mean, I bitched for maybe half a paragraph about Hyperslob and the Goatmeat Explosion (yeah, that's a real band) putting burps all over an otherwise perfectly constructed punk record. I thought that was fair, too.
ANYway anyway anyway, the point is I wouldn't want to write a bad review, instead, I'd want to write positive reviews of records that I could recommend. Isn't that what a review is supposed to be? To recommend a record rather that to tell people to avoid it?
Taking that into consideration, I went to the MN Record Show last year and dropped a few beans on some cassettes - The Jesus Lizard's Head, NoMeansNo's Wrong, and Bastro's Sing the Troubled Beast. The vendor pulled out a brown paper bag and asked if I'd be interested in any of these promo cassettes. I asked, How much? He told me to just take 'em all if I wanted. Apparently, he couldn't sell them. So I picked out a few that either looked interesting (you know, despite no cover art) or had names I vaguely recognized. I have not listened to them until a few nights ago.
I'm about to write some very negative shit.
Why? Well, none of these bands are around anymore and I can fall back on the old Rimbaud line, "To the living, one owes respect; to the dead, one owes only truth." Their creative outputs are finalized, their legacies are solidified, it's time to break down how this was some of the worst shit of the nineties and it's not going to be pretty.
Lambchop / Vitapup Promo Split
Lambchop, doubtlessly named for the educational children's television sock puppet has two songs here, "Your Life As A Sequel" and the dauntingly flatly retardedly titled "Smuckers", and with a name like "Smuckers", you know it's going to be lame. In case you missed the better part of the nineties, there was a lloonngg running trend where bands would "ironically" title their songs either one word (I'm looking at you, Bush) or nonsensical half-sentences, and this one would be the former. Lambchop, represented by these two songs, sound like a lazy half-assed bad impression of Low with a pedal steel lead by a monotone baritone gentle motherfucker who sounds like a TV dad who delivers life lessons at the end of twenty two minutes. This shit is all lifeless and limp, just a pudgy turtled-up dong coated in vanilla and rose pedals and free from any daring or psychosis. Fuck this shit. It's like being lectured by Ben Stein on how to use Z-Quil but with the added edginess of including one utterance of "fuck". If you put this shit on during a road trip, you and your traveling companions would die. Not because you'd fall asleep at the wheel but because you come to a stop next to a car full of people with good taste in music who will beat your cardigan-wearing asses.
Vitapup, on the other hand, with their bullshit name, are represented by "I Need It", a great Unwound and (90s) emo-inspired indy number with actually really great though at times nonsense lyrics, and "Fuck My Head", which opens with a clumsy Jason Mewes-esque rap about Darth Vader and then they get back to plowing uptempo Unwound territory but with Rollins Band vocals. I do like this. I would listen to these two songs again. Unfortunately, this was not "radio ready" in ninety four or whenever it came out, which sucks because we could've used more bands like this on AOR as opposed to "Life Is A Highway" or whatever the fuck "the man" was trying to shove down our throats back then.
Billed as a hardcore band - and remember, kids, nineties hardcore is different from eighties hardcore the way aughts emo is nowhere near the same thing as nineties emo (Hint: Aughts emo is some twee bullshit your grown ass does not need in your life.) - Vitapup's An Hour With Vitapup has the aforementioned "I Need It" and I will pick up this LP if I ever find it which means you should too. If you're into, say, Unwound, Fugazi, etc.
Not bad. Two into it and one was good.
Thirty Ought Six / Toenut Promo Split
Thirty Ought Six is on some middle of the road bullshit with "Talon" and "Moreau", like, if you liked Pearl Jam but always thought they needed some Tool bass and Verve Pipe lyrics, you'd have liked Thirty Ought Six. If you were from the midwest and really into your high school hockey team, you'd have liked Thirty Ought Six. If you ever skipped an FFA meeting because somebody could sneak you into Buffalo Wild Wings that afternoon, you'd have liked Thirty Ought Six. If you knew the words to Seven Mary Three's "Cumbersome", you'd have liked Thirty Ought Six. Middle of the goddamned road.
Toenut's got "Mouthful of Pennies" and "Feeder" and is gleefully twisted. Out of all these cassettes, it's the only one with a female vocalist and a guitarist who, like Peter Buck, knows how to bring the heavy with arpeggiated jangly chords. The drummer beats the shit out of the kit and the bassist is all over the map. Reminds me a bit of the Pretty Mary Sunshine track off of the SFW soundtrack but with more neuroses going on and - BONUS! - you could skate to this back in the day. Maybe a little on the poppy end of skate punk but still has the requisite aggression. Toenut probably sweated their asses off on stage back in the day. Googled them and they have three records and they're out of Atlanta. That's probably why I like them, that whole Athens - Atlanta vibe. Go buy, like, all their stuff. Just stop being a pussy and do it.
Four bands, two good. Batting .500. That's not a bad avg.
Drill Team Promo EP
Oh-ho-ho! Released on In Bloom Records! Gee, I wonder whose success that label was trying to cash in on!
This opens with "Pluto My Cream" (Remember how I said some titles in the nineties were nonsense half sentences? Yeah...) which is the only enjoyable song this band managed to include on this promo and it exists somewhere close to the shoegaze circle on some Venn diagram somewhere.
And then?
"Wish"? It opens with the line "I wish I was a girl / I can't be a boy today" and then moves into "I wish I was a girl / I can't be a boy today" and then from there "I wish I was a star / I can't be myself today" before the singer tells us "I wish I was a star / I can't be myself today" and it goes on like that. Such sniveling godawful bullshit is so sniveling godawful bullshit that it distracts from the part where the music is really really good. Really, the lyrics are just awful. Distractingly awful. Like the time I went on a date and the woman was bleeding the entire time. Sure, she was nice, she was pretty, she was smart, but she was fucking bleeding the entire time. That kind of shit distracts a motherfucker.
"Destruct In Stereo" is just rubbish. Putting a wah pedal on everything does not make you Swervedriver and you should stop. The bullshit that "Drippin'" is up on is enough to make me stop listening. Seriously. I got two lines into the first verse and said, Fuck this. Fast forward to the end and eject.
Now I have to sit through Black Market Flowers Promo LP.
OK, so a jazzy bit of brush work on the snare during a warm up. OK, now the song is actually starting. Sounds promising.
Oh, fuck, dude.
This is some bullshit. He's screaming the word "away" and he's stretched it out to five syllables. This is fucking awful. This is like a kiddie pool full of the santorum accumulated after the members of Eve 6 and Collective Soul butt fucked each other and then it was turkey-basted into the uterus of that one chick your mom worked with back in the nineties that really liked Talk Show (which was Stone Temple Pilots without Weiland) and nine months later this was the shithead baby that came out. I was going to compare this to Temple of the Dog butt fucking Dandelion and the shitty-lube-jizz getting pumped into the womb of the Canadian head of the Catherine Wheel fan club but all three of those bands each put out one song I like, so I really had to work for that analogy. You think it was daunting to read? I had to come up with it and then make it work in a linear fashion. OK, you want an easy one? This is worse than an Arby's gyro. I mean, dude, they named a song "Aunt Farmer". For real. "Aunt Farmer". And that's the side one closer. I still have to get through side two.
Fuck this. Just fast forward to side two.
Oh, god. I don't know if I can do this.
No, I can't.
I can't do it.
I've already established that this shit sucks. Moving on.
Green Apple Quick Step New Disaster Promo LP
Back in the aughts, when SNL wanted to poke fun at white privilege, they employed the whitest guy on their crew, Jimmy Fallon, and they put him in a recurring skit as a dreadlocked white kid (I can already hear the comment box filling up with that one) named Jerrod (or some such butchered spelling) who did a webcast from his dorm room. The skit was abysmal in that it was pretty clearly a riff on "Wayne's World", which nailed the attitudes of bored cooler-than-thou suburban kids who managed to secure a cable access show. This was followed by the similarly formatted and almost as funny at times, "Goth Talk", which followed the exact same premise: Suburban kids in a basement with a cable access program.
SNL, however, caught up with the times by the time Fallon came on and updated the "teenager with a talk show" premise from cable access television to the more egalitarian Warhol-fame-quote of the webcam. And Fallon was perfect for the role of the host.
I've never found Jimmy Fallon funny and that's kind of unique with me. I never thought Samberg was funny either but at least he has Brooklyn Nine Nine to his credit, in which he is brilliant. But Fallon? I imagine how much better the cowbell sketch would've been without him "breaking" in it. But he nails the Jerrod character because they're both pretty abhorrent.
Jarrod is, as mentioned, a dreadlocked white kid whose parents are paying for him to go to college where he smokes a lot of grass long into the night, he wears those baja rug sweaters and, I'm sure if we could see below the waist, knee high Doc Marten's with his cargo shorts. He's as "alt"-culture as Clueless. He's exactly the kind of "extreme" dude that MTV Sports would've targeted.
He's also the kind of dude who would bump some pussy bullshit like Green Apple Quick Step from his Jeep. Because he looks like the singer from Green Apple Quick Step.
This band is pretty clearly a post-grunge mainstream "alt rock" cash grab attempt, a hit-less pre-Smash Mouth pander to the Hyper-Color t-shirt set that's thankfully been forgotten. For real, for whom this band is a favorite, please stand up and explain to me the appeal behind this cloying douche-breathed collection of Fructis jingle retreads with oh! so poignant lyrics about the way of the world (on the song "Way of the World" that, no, is not a cover of the Clown Alley classic) that would make Blind Melon at their least-rainiest cringe in nauseated guilt over assumed responsibility.
I make a lot of jokes at the level of awful or terrible or horrible something is, like how I want to barf acid on my dick to prevent myself from ever procreating so I don't have to explain to my future child that I have heard something this awful and I still brought him into a world in which this thing had even fleeting relevance, so I couldn't even accidentally convey what this thing once sounded like from memory after society comes to its senses and destroys all existing copies. (And believe me, when they come for me, I will say nothing. I'll just hand them this tape and a lighter and go back inside.) But in this instance, no. No, I will not mutilate myself over this cheeseball New Radicals bullshit. Not even if I am hearing a harmonica solo right now in the middle of an alt-pop song titled "Kid" in which a grown-ass man tells me repeatedly that there's "nothing ordinary when you're a kid." Not even if I feel subliminally compelled to buy a Crystal Pepsi to join Generation Next. No, my reaction to this Empire Records fluff is to fix a steely death glare on this and declare this to be the absolute worst record I have ever heard.
This is worse than that Gotye song about being a clingy douchepuddle unable to cope with getting dumped.
This is worse than when Good Charlotte proclaimed their individuality in a music video where everybody looked exactly the fucking same.
This is worse than that Kairos record I picked up because they did a really heavy cover of that one Chris Isaac song everybody knows but nobody can sing and it turned out to be Christian metal.
This is worse than Colossus of Destiny.
This is worse than all those O.A.R. records I had to sit through at Karl Uhde's house parties.
This is a record written by people on a major label preaching to me about how the "real world" works. It is hands-down the most transparently spiritless alt-culture co-opting fame grab I have ever heard, doubtlessly focus-grouped and produced to death. If a Chriss Angel trick and a Guy Fieri hot sauce had a baby that went back in time and was photographed on the red carpet with Jenny McCarthy at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, it would still not be as vapid and irrelevant as this thing.
Should I produce offspring, I will hold on to this record as a cautionary tale:
Child, before you go looking at how good all the money in the world looks to you, I implore you to listen to Coltrane, Davis, and Coleman. Read Burgess, (Jim) Thompson, and le Carré. Watch Kubrick, Kurisowa, and Wood. Study the Dadaists, the Modernists, the Surrealists. Find worth not in material or monetary wealth because there were bands that did that and, well, I can tell you about the worst. Let me get the cassette out because I want you to listen to what happens when you sacrifice integrity and aesthetics and taste and decency in the name of all those dollar signs.
Yes, all these cassettes were free.
I still feel like I was ripped off.

09 April, 2016

Recent Love (Healthy Life Choices Edition)

Lamb's Legs, A Dozen Torsos Within Spitting Distance
The liner notes mention Soup Moat. M. reviewed them here a while back. That must be how Lamb's Legs heard of the half-assed shit-show this blog has become. Lo! my empire! Lo! my legacy! How pitiful thou hast become, derelict in thoust duties my once proud and shining achievement, thou are naught but a scrap of candy wrapper floating in the wind on a blustery day. How I lament you.
Yeah, SD&A isn't exactly the hotbed it once (thought it) was.
ANYhoo, let's get into the review. You know, why I opened up shop today and - Holy shit. It's almost twenty after four and I'm not blackout drunk yet!? Am I... old now? Fuck, man. Anyway, yeah, opened up the shop today to talk to you about this little Milwaukee outfit called Lamb's Legs who - let me check... Yep. The liner notes say "Lamb's Legs was..." so, you know, you're not going to get to see them any time soon. So, A Dozen Torsos Within Spitting Distance is a posthumous release. Shame, I'd have seen these guys. How are they only now on my radar?
I mean, the email I got from them refers to them in the present tense though with "is". A lot of "is"es. So, perhaps we have license to blur and mix our tenses throughout this review. You'll never get to see this band except for when you get to see them because they didn't break up except they totally did.
Being that they're from Wisconsin (aka the State That Stole All Ohio's Serial Killers) (Dahmer was ours, goddamnit!), you know they're going to get this noise rock thing down right. Well, maybe I wouldn't say "noise rock", evoking a sense of big bruisery beat 'em ups, perhaps more post-punk, playing with sturm und drang, dissonant chord voicings, melodic bassline sweeps, drums that seem to roll along smoothly rather than bash everything in sight, and I'm just going to say it: Holy fuck, that dude sounds like Nick Cave. Really. From the minute he opens his mouth, I'm all, Is that Nick Cave? over here.
"Taklamakan" is a slow burn for an opener but stick with it, not every opening track is a baseball bat upside the back of the head. It gets a little artsy post-rocky toward the end with the bass but it doesn't go all Jaco-Pastorious-left-in-a-dark-room-with-a-bag-of-indica on you. The bassist does just enough and then pulls himself back. He's just breaking out the burnt sienna crayon instead of the orange one, serving the song.
OK, how do I put this without sounding like a dick? Look, that goddamned bassline needs to be that way and we all know it. If it wasn't that way, it would be wrong!
You see? You see this? This is why I can't write a review on two energy drinks! All those other reviews? At least two beers before I even got started. Fuck, I reviewed Big Knife Little Knife drinking chartreuse and that came out OK. Right now, though, I'm second guessing every linguistic decision I'm making because I've started making healthy fucking life choices and doing shit like watching my fucking sodium intake and drinking Red Bull during the daylight hours. Yes, even on the weekends. Fuck.
OK, guys. Guys? Guys. Let's do the next song.
"Death To The Tunnel Shepherd" would've made a better opener in my opinion. This is all action and bluster and menace and it's the shortest song on the record. I hope this was / is the set opener for the live shows and I hope that Sconnies know what to do at a rock show (you know, opposed to the folded-armed statues that attend Minnesota rock shows) because this is easily the one that's going to cause some weird skank-headbang-hairball-hork dance on the floor. Not really a booty shaker, no, but it should('ve) drive(n) the masses to convulsions.
"The Flaying Song" comes in with a metal intro and then retreats into more subdued, haunting, psychological terror territory and this would've been the one where we would've seen Lamb's Legs' measure of control over an audience. Think of a more chilling version of the part of Otis Day and The Knights's "Shout" where it goes "a little bit softer now, a little bit softer now"; this would('ve) be(en) where we'd see a band start things off with a room full of folks throwing horns and bopping, pogoing, and then the band shifts gears and gets the whole room quiet and still. You know, like at any show in Minneapolis except in Minneapolis it's for the whole show. (For real, what is with these self-conscious fucks?) Would('ve) be(en) a sight.
"Knee Jerk" starts off with a lurching intro before getting into a straight-forward bee-buzz straight-eight section. If there's a starting point to recommend, it's going to be "Knee Jerk".
Side B kicks off with "Plague Song", a lumbering little beast that grows and grows and grows and is perhaps, especially when paired with "The Flaying Song", indicative of Lamb's Legs' Oxbow influence. I can definitely hear some Oxbow in there.
"I Want To Believe" is the most straight-ahead rock tune on this eight-tracker featuring a string of conspiracy theories that are mixed too low to hear every word of and drums that perhaps get as close to the classic kick-kick-snare four-time beat as they will anywhere on the record.
"Salt the Earth"'s bassline, holy shit. I can't play that. Can you play that? I can't play that. Goddamn. And then to come out of the chorus back into that bassline? Fuck you, dude. I know why this band broke up (except they totally didn't): The bassist must have broken his whole everything in both his wrists because holy shit.
"Glam's Baes" is the least malevolent seeming thing on this record and easily one of the best closing track choices I've heard a band make in a while. Going out on a note like this? This kind of exultant, nearly exuberant? When a lot of noise rock and post punk bands try to go out on a death rattle? I'll take this closer, thank you.
Overall? I thought the drums could've been a bit beefier. I hate to say the word "beefier" because this isn't fucking Arby's we're talking about but - Excuse me for a moment.
Why, yes. Yes, I have switched to scotch. Why do you ask?
Look, you are not my mother! I am thirty five years old, I can fix a lowball of scotch at five thirty on a Saturday if I want to!
So, where were we? Ah, yes, my quibble with the drums. They could've used a bit more oomph. I get it, for the sound the band was going for, maybe that tight and dry Marquee Moon sound better served them and, hey, the drums are never buried under anything, I just enjoy hearing drums with a bit more ass behind them. From the performance, I'm thinking this was on the recording end of things and not on the drummer's end. I mean, he really is playing his ass off.
Because I'm a guitarist, I'm going to Mean Girl the guitarist in this band because that's what guitarists do to each other. If you're new to the whole guitar playing thing, just watch out because we throw shade at each other like we're on RuPaul's Drag Race. Like when you get me and M. in the same room? It's nothing but catty side-eyes between the two of us until I come for his ass with some biting remark about all the goddamned treble he uses and then he comes for me and reminds me that my band isn't even a real band and I need to take my Pinnochio ass on to Craigslist and ask Tinkerbell to make me a real musician.
I just made myself feel bad about myself.
I can't say shit now.
I like the guitarist in this band. He plays like I play.
I still feel bad inside.
For the sake of making lazy comparisons, I can hear allusions to Scratch Acid, the more aggressive side of Sharpie Crows, the more straight-ahead side of Oxbow, and the bass playing on the first Liars record. Well, better bass playing than what was on that first Liars record, really.
Goddamn, dude. I really hurt my own feelings.
Check Lamb's Legs out.

26 January, 2016

Bizarre Coincidence of the Day (After Close Edition)

Yeah yeah yeah, I know I said SD&A is dead last week but the thing is that I've been immersing myself in Latin culture lately for the erroneous prospect of becoming functionally bilingual. Much like I never exercised but factory work kept me buff, I figure if I go to the marqueta every weekend for mis cacahuates y ajos - chinga te, pendejo - I'll eventually have the grasp on a sixth grade level of Spanish that I wouldn't get from studying. Thus, I subscribed to Mitú, the site that brought you those "Cholos Try" videos.
Today, between mail runs (I have an office job now, don't know if I ever told you) I took a quiz to discover my Latina Diva Spirit Animal. ¿Por que no? You'll take some Facebook quiz over what kind of cake you'd poop if you could poop cake, don't tell me shit about having a Latina Diva Spirit Animal and the quiz I need to take to discover that.
Anyway, my results came back that Latina Diva Spirit Animal - Chinga te. - is Gloria Trevi.
I know nothing about Gloria Trevi.
Naturally, I look up Gloria Trevi to see who my Latina Diva Spirit Animal - Chupas mis huevos. - is and this is the first song I hear, "Doctor Psiquiatra" from 1989's ¿Qué Hago Aqui?:
From the goddamned get go, I think, This sounds like "Baby Doll" from Tapeheads. Really, cold check it:
Here's the thing: It's easy to say, "Holy shit, Charlie! It's a rip off! Wait! ... When did what come out first?"
Well, Tapeheads was released in 1988 and, again, ¿Qué Hago Aqui? was released in 1989 but consider this: First of all, it takes a long time to make a movie. Whenever I see the release year of a movie, I consider it as having been made the year before that. Secondly, I have this notion, probably super unfounded, that pop records like ¿Qué Hago Aqui? take just as much time to make because yeah, something something In Utero was made in ten days or something but something something Mariah Carey blah blah blah Beyonce something Phil Spector. I don't know how to make a pop record, is what I'm saying. But there're these people who just write songs all day, like it's their job or something, their called songwriters. Chances are that "Doctor Psiquiatra" could've been sitting in a stack of papers on somebody's piano for a while long while, perhaps even before Devo wrote the Cube Squared song, "Baby Doll". I don't know, I wasn't there for any of this. Maybe "Doctor Psiquiatra" was written specifically for ¿Qué Hago Aqui?, maybe the songwriter saw Tapeheads and thought, "¡Maldito, eso es el gancho!" Maybe Devo heard some early version of "Doctor Psiquiatra" and thought, "Damn, that's the hook!" Or maybe it's just a bizarre coincidence that two songs that entered public consciousness within a year of each other were possibly written around the same time and sound alike, at least in the hook. I don't know, something something something "Eighties" blah blah blah "Come As You Are" yada yada yada not the same anyway fuck it.

19 January, 2016

Taggged S01

This is the the 2750th post at SD&A. This blog is dead, available only for record reviews.
It's been a good run but now it's time to put this bullshit to bed.

13 September, 2015


Just a quiet jab at cutesy hipster food truck culture.

30 August, 2015

Recent Love (Them Fucking Canadians Edition)

Big Knife Little Knife, Too Many Words
Yes, I've been sleeping on writing a review for this because that's what happens when you work sixty to seventy hours a week. But, I assure you that I've not been sleeping on listening to this. Why? Because this is absitively, posilutely one of the best goddamned records of the year. I mean that, I really do. This is a record that makes you air drum against your wishes, this is a record that makes you want to drop obscene amounts of money on their goddamned t-shirts. This is a record you can have cocktails over, discussing politics whilst chain-smoking; cook dinner to for that dinner party you're hosting; listen to on road trips to college town music festivals while you sit in the passenger seat and illustrate your latest metafictional webcomic in your sketchbook; this is a record you can fuck to. This is smart rock 'n' roll, anxious rock 'n' roll, and exhilarating rock ‘n’ roll all in one package. Short version: Great rock ‘n’ roll. Just three people banging out some tunes; you never have to worry about what they’re going to do next, you can trust that it’s going to be as awesome as what they just did.
Seriously, this is a record you put on repeat and just fucking marvel at.
This is a record where you listen to it and wonder, “Why isn’t my band doing something this cool?”
This is a record you listen to and want to get your band on a bill with that band pron-to.
And if this unassuming little EP doesn’t grab you the way it grabs me, you have problems in your life that require immediate attention that I am not qualified to attend to. Simple as that, end of discussion.
Sure, “Suspensive Hyphen” kicks it off with a Sex Pistols-esque intro but it kicks that nonsense off to the side with the quickness and gets into some real shit. It’s uptempo, knocks your chest cavity a couple of times with heavy hammers, it’s a car chase for a couple bars and then turns into a dramatic crash replete with car flips. It practices an economy of progressions, going from this break-neck pacing to this beautiful little piece of drama of a waltz which... Cripes, did I just write that? Please forgive me. This record is easy to get swept up in. Especially when you’re trying to juggle writing a review, drink a cocktail of chartreuse and NOS, and play air drums at the same time.
“Circumlocution” starts off a little Gang of Four-ish, which is an immediate AOK in my book, and then the bass comes in all swirling and the drums just cut right to the goddamned quick with, “Hey. You know what? This is the beat, motherfuckers.” Just totally solid. Out of everything on this EP, this one is the one that reminds me most of Ann Arbor’s Javelins. Or were they from Detroit? I can’t keep remember.
“(Probably Misses His) Old Glasses”, as long as we’re drawing comparisons here, reminds me a lot of Ann Arbor’s (or was it Detroit’s?) Morsel. The beat swings here a little, the band plays a little more with space than on the first two songs - not so much sturm und drang as shadow and light, gradations of space and fullness - and there’s a gang vocal to boot.
It’s at this point that I really want to suggest that this record is very Lake Erie influenced: I hear hints of Javelins, Morsel, and, if you move further down south, Afghan Whigs (at their less melodramatic moments). This is kind of what was happening around that area of the rust belt, musically, back when I lived there. This is the good shit, the real deal; this is shitty grass, this is smoking in bars, this is dancing all night in front of the stage, drunk off your ass that night and not remembering a single goddamned song the next morning in the throes of a hangover; all you can tell your friends who didn’t make it that night was how awesome the show was. Can’t remember it for shit but it was awesome, sure as hell. And you danced and you met a nice gal and you never saw her again and everybody who was there had a great time and felt good and nobody fought and there was a moment or two of unison fist pumps in the middle of this song or that when the breakdown came and you crowdsurfed. It’s exaltant music, basically. It feels fucking awesome just listening to this record and thinking about the great time it must be to see this band.
For real, if this band comes to your town and you don’t have the night of your fucking life when you see them, you are a shallow husk of a person whose heart has never beat.
I’m not the hyperbole guy this often but really, Big Knife Little Knife should really be the biggest band of 2016. At least for one year, they should own the planet. If they don’t make three million dollars - a million per member - I’m holding all of you loveless bastards accountable.
Yes, I’ve been drinking. Fuck you. This record by this band is this great.
“Boredom or Apathy” ends the record and I don’t want it to. I want at least four more songs. But this is a healthy little time capsule - No. Stop. Wait. I’m writing bullshit again. But really: This song is full of great stop-start rhythms and that great, illusive “angular” guitar work, whatever the fuck “angular” means; nobody’s ever defined it solidly. It’s like the difference between art and porn: I know porn when I see it. I know “angular” when I hear it. I’m pretty sure this angular.
There’s no angry frontman here, there’s no browbeating politics, there’s no overwhelming pyrotechnics, there’s no over-tutored theory, there’s no bullshit. It’s just three people playing their asses off to deliver some art. Some well-rendered art. Just getting together and banging out some music. And there’s no way to argue with the results; it sounds awesome. Your band could only hope to put together a little package of comparable quality; I’m absolutely enthralled with this EP and you should be, too. I look forward to hearing a lot more out of this band.
Watch this video for “Circumlocution” and tell me it’s not the best thing ever. Because it kind of is.
I need more chartreuse.
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