Friday, August 14, 2009

Nation Of Ulysses - The Embassy Tapes

Label: Dischord
Year: 2000

This band, and more specifically, their mouthpiece Ian Svenonious, seem to be a pretty polarizing affair. You either thought, "how clever", or "what a horses' ass". Those who thought the band were clever then fell into two further camps, those who thought, "how clever...I wonder if Cops will be a rerun tonight", or "how clever...I should commit this bands philosophies into a new religion, tattoo it onto my body, and mimic their every move". There were a lot of those people mimicking their every move too. A lot. Surely, if you were of the right age, the right cultural predisposition, and had the attention span to follow the (admittedly well written) thesis of the band, then chances are you would be impressed that they were, at the very least, doing something original in the realm of post-hardcore, or at the very most, injecting a much needed shot of energy into a flagging scene. 
This particular record was culled from sessions the band entered in to record their third album, after guitarist Steve Kroner left the band, those sessions were abandoned, and only the six songs on The Embassy Tapes were salvaged. They also added four live tracks to round out the record that was released well after the band's dissolution. The sound is fairly raw, but the energy and intent is all there. 


1009 said...

Bizarre how much I am on the same wavelength as the miscreants who run this place. Bizarre & disturbing. Watching these re-runs of The State from MTV & learned that Craig Wedren sampled NoU in the theme song. Decided I must check them out. Was just set to buy *Plays Pretty* today in fact. This makes a nice companion, because everyone needs a companion, and so few deserve one.

Mars said...

I loved the NOU big time, wanted to be a devotee but loved smoking pot that much more. Got to know them early on as Make Up - Ian never shuts it off, Gamboa and Canty were cool and Michelle Mae was dope in every way.

These are actually not the original 'Embassy Tapes' which floated around back in the nineties. That tape was entirely made up of their free jazz / beat noise material. I had a copy and lost it a thousand years ago...

Whatever happened to 'Bad Dog' Kroner?

James Joyce said...

I think Kroner lost his mind somewhere, he was the real short fuse in the band and made the band so chaotic and amazing live.

I always thought these were recordings made before 13 Point Program, not after Plays Pretty, but I'll have to look at my copy again to be sure. I have a CD of the original Embassy Tapes (NOU Jazz), which I can give to Gray to post sometime. It also has some classic DC bands recordings on there playing live at the Embassy.

I got to spend the night at the Embassy once in 1995, as we needed a place to stay in DC and Christina from Slant 6 put us up. We then accidentally let her cat out, who was in heat and so all of us had to spend the next 30 minutes tracking that cat down. Luckily the cat was recovered, that would have been awkward.

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