02 July, 2014

Recent Love (World Cup Edition)

So, I know it’s been a while since I sat down and wrote an actual record review and now that’s it’s World Cup season, I’m sure the majority of you could give two tosses less about reading this. All I can say is that I left the goddamned bar sixteen minutes into Belgium vs. USA for this, so y’all’d better… Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t really give a shit about the World Cup. We all know Detroit won’t… No, that’s baseball. We all know Canada won’t… No, that’s, I think, everything else.
Anyway, Phratry records has just put out a new double seven inch with four bands, one band at two songs per side; Aperiodic, Mala In Se, Joe 4 (and you know I dig me some Joe 4), and Knife the Symphony. Let’s have ourselves a listen.
Aperiodic’s “Scene Crush” kicks off the festivities with a synth-heavy throb. That kind of goes on for six and a half minutes. Now, that’s not a bad thing by any means, I’m just not having much of an emotional response to it but I’m not going to sit here and just slag off actually reviewing it.
“Scene Crush” sounds like a couple guys in a basement working out ideas during a rainy afternoon over a case of beer, the kind of thing every band does during those brainstorming jam sessions, just spit-balling ideas and seeing what sticks. And while this is a good batch of ideas, I’m not feeling the drums until the 3:50 mark, where they take on a jazzy approach and the electronics really start glitching out. This is definitely music you chill out to with a joint and a light show if you have a light show handy. Your one friend’s girlfriend? You know her? The white girl with the dreadlocks? Yeah, her. Yeah, she’s the one that will start dancing to this and you know how white girls with dreadlocks dance. It’s that dance with the Bob Dole thumbs and the hair flails. Don’t worry though. If you’re listening to this song right, you’re probably really high and that’s OK.
“Something That Satisfies” I like a lot more. There’s a lot more aggression, it’s less jammy. It feels more deliberate than the previous song. Your friend’s girlfriend? Yeah, her again. Yeah, she aint digging this one so much. The record store clerk down the block, though? Yeah, the one guy you know with a Six Finger Satellite t-shirt. He’s into this but that’s because he’s probably only listening to the surface of it. Dig beyond the distorted synths and drunken math-drumming and what you’re hearing is the stoned swagger of old-school Doors. “Something That Satisfies” is your soundtrack to a lysergic sex romp in a literal hay stack. You can zone out to this or you can make horrible mistakes at sushi bars to this song.
Seriously, “Something That Satisfies”, man. You need to get on this song before the end of summer.
On to side 1B.
Mala In Se’s “Crowd of Dead Grandparents”… OK… How to be constructive? Let me try by reminding folks that I am just not into bass virtuosos. Never have been. Like Primus? Not into them. Rush? Not happening. So anything I’m not liking about the ascending twiddly-dee bass line that opens up “Crowd of Dead Grandparents” is my fault. I mean, Mala In Se’s bassist is good enough to do that. I’m not good enough to do that. So props to him or her for being able to pull that off. It takes skill, years of tutelage at the instrument to pull that off. And y’all know I’m not one of those assholes that says an instrument has to be played one way or the other. But the tweedy-dees are enough to almost turn me away. For real. That’s how not into the tweedy-dees I am. But I stick with the song beyond the tweedy-dees and I’m glad I do because you know all the good parts of all the pg. 99 songs? Mala In Se must have listened to all of them and asked themselves, “Are these, collectively, a fucking joke?” because “Crowd of Dead Grandparents” is already better than all of that one pg. 99 CD I have somewhere that I stole off of Angie as asshole tax when we broke up. And, even better, there’s way less of that shrieky-post-hardcore-guy thing going on.
“Cats” starts out as one of the better unapologetic fist-pumpers I’ve heard in a while and reminds me a lot of what was happening in the western Lake Erie scene about ten years ago, which is not a bad thing. It has its big, urgent fist-pumping moments and its instrumental cigarette breaks, more informed by metal than by punk and I can get down with that. The guitar in the intro sounds a bit reminiscent of Bauhaus or back when the Cult were called Death Cult and played goth rock but then shit goes all Kylesa. All of this is good.
Side 2A.
The Joe 4 side.
The “Oh, shit, son, your ears are about to get an ass-whooping,” side.
“S.A.L.E.” makes me immediately want to punch the shit out of something. Like, this is my walk up music when I go up to bat for the Tigers. Everybody on the Twins be like, “Oh, shit, it’s that guy! Move it back out to the warning track!” Fuck it, I’ll go a step further: Everybody on them bitch-ass Athletics, playing .622 ball like they’re hot shit, be afraid of old Charlie coming up to bat. Fuck, even Cabrera be all, “Charlie, how do you do that?” And I tell him, “Miggy? The secret to clubbing a man with a baseball bat is you take out the ump first because the catcher is in a weaker, crouching position, you take him out second. And then, after that, you bum rush the pitcher.”
Wait. Where was I going with that? That’s got to be the worst baseball analogy ever. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.
“S.A.L.E.” That’s what I’m talking about. Well, the first thing I notice is that that doesn’t sound like Lu singing. What happened to Lu? Is Lu not there anymore? Did they add somebody? What happened? Why does that not sound like Lu?
I mean, I’m not saying it’s not good but where’s Lu? I don’t know if I can take this.
OK, Lu’s back on “Sui Generis”. That sounds like Lu. Everything is right with the universe.
“Sui Generis” brings us more of the grisly fuck-you-ups that I love Joe 4 for.
Now, I could go off on one of my tangents about how good Joe 4 are but you already know that if I see Joe 4’s name on something that I consider that worth the price of admission alone. Trust me on this: If you see Joe 4’s name on something, buy it. Just fucking buy it. You’ll like it.
OK, Side 2B.
Knife the Symphony. All I ever hear is good things about Knife the Symphony and it’s my bad for sleeping on them this long.
“Room & Pillar” starts out all storm and hurricane and it takes only those eleven seconds to convince me that I need to see this band ASAP. I detect a bit of Zach de la Rocha in the vocals, you know when Zach gets pissier than he normally is and starts hollering at the top of his lungs? Yeah, like that. Now imagine that happening with that kind of punk I like where the bass carries the melody and the guitar just fills in these swathes of harmonic information while the drums sound like the guy or gal playing them is Dave Grohling the shit out of everything. (And say what you want about how lame and arena rocky the Foos have gotten over the years, Grohl is still my generation’s Ginger Baker getting butt-fucked by Gene Krupa behind Peart’s drum kit.) “Room & Pillar” is the sound of hoards of conquistadors landing on your shore. This, I like. Why have I slept on this band for this long? It’s like I’m fucking stupid or something.
“Suit Up, Sleep It Off” is a fine piece that reminds me of Holy Sockets but wwaayy heavier. If you like your indie heavy or your heavy indie, “Suit Up, Sleep It Off” may be your new summer jam and that’s for this summer and next summer. Motherfuckers coming over to your house and you’re playing this and they’ll be all, “What’s this?” and you’ll be all, “Knife the Symphony” and they’ll be all like, “Oh, cool,” and then you’ll put the speakers in the window and sit out on the lawn and knock back Vicodins and Mickey’s while nodding your heads and occasionally doing the metal scowl. Ladies and joims, this is your pre-game music. Listen to this before going out for a night on your town with your friends and everything will be alright. “Suit Up, Sleep It Off” is how your morning-after blog post begins.
So, over all? I think the only miss for me is Aperiodic’s opener but we’ve been over that; you can still get into it but I think that for my tastes that it will take some more time. There’s a tweedy-dee bass moment that I’m not digging but that’s the fault of my own prejudices, I guess. Whoever is singing that first Joe 4 song is either not Lu or Lu doing something different but I still like it. Overall, Phratry’s new double seven inch is going to be your new summer jam.
Now, if only there were a link to it somewhere.

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