Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Crooked Fingers - Red Devil Dawn Demos

Label: self released
Year: 2005

Back to Eric Bachmann, and the Crooked Fingers material that filled the Archers Of Loaf shaped hole in my heart circa 1998. As far as musical signposts go, I tend to re-calibrate towards Mr. Bachmann every few weeks, or at most, months. I've found that his (and his counterparts) songwriting cuts through a lot of what I want cut through, and hits in just the right spot (insert G-spot joke here). And hits hard.
The 'Red Devil Dawn' proper album came off the heels of the melancholic (even by Crooked Fingers standards) 'Bring On The Snakes' , and while retaining the spare Springsteen via Waits via Fahey via Jennings forward march against bad luck and meddling miscreants, the songs were injected with horns and lounge-y melodies and Mexican swing to great effect. Again, by Crooked Fingers standards it was a sunny day after a month of rain. The demos here are the skeletal and delicately plucked shadows of those album versions. Fully formed in their own rights, they carry the full weight of Bachmann's rasp, and are held aloft by the underrated, glorious guitar playing that he uses to map the darker corners of dying town, or a drawn out one sided love affair. There are few singer/songwriters who can wring so much emotion from such minimal composition. It's amazing to me. Which explains why I'm always circling back.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anodyne - The Outer Dark

Label: Escape Artist
Year: 2002

Described somewhere on, or adjacent, this very blog as "more Amphetamine Reptile than Hydra Head", I would wager Anodyne were slightly more Hydra Head then Amphetamine Reptile. And that may have more to do with the time period in which they were in existence, the era after Today Is The Day had finally been discovered and plundered by every Drowningman and Converge and Nineironspitfire out there bringing a super noisy and bombastic version of hardcore to VFW halls all across this great nation.
Anodyne have some of that Today Is The Day residue coloring their sound for sure, but they also skew more metallic in the pure sense of the word, like, they were coming from more of a Dark Throne background and less of a Downcast one. Could be conjecture on my part, but I imagine these three guys had pretty substantial metal collections in their record crates.
Loud, abrasive, thoughtfully articulated attack. That's Anodyne. Totally necessary.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Black Pus - All My Relations

Label: Thrill Jockey
Year: 2013

Brian Chippendale, most notably the drummer for Lightning Bolt, has over the years released a bunch of solo records under the name Black Pus, most of which are "too much" for my delicate sensibilities. Like, just too much of everything. Free jazz for art school noise rockers. Which, whatever, that's great if that's your bag, but it's never been mine.
Give me something I can dance to.
But this album, which I will freely admit went unheard by me for (I'm assuming) four years until recently it showed up in my face and ready to party. And, shit, I like party. You party?
It's still "a lot", everything is warped and tweaked and coming at you from every angle, but it's not "too much". Something about maintains a cohesion that I like, cutting through some of the rowdy experimental-ism, and revealing actual songs under there. I think.
Maybe it's the party talking? This fucked up, ant infested, barely legal party?


Monday, May 8, 2017

UT - Delta Gamma Epsilon Beta

Label: Marsiglia
Year: 2017

The Italian Stallion himself, Trento, Italy SGM Bureau Chief Aaron Giazzon comes through with another banger form the Old Country.
UT hail from Genoa, but, as noted the last time we posted them, you would be excused if you assumed they originated in the American Midwest. They bare many of the Rust Belt (and adjacent) hallmarks of a band in proximity to Shellac, Slint, Big'N, Rodan, Bitch Magnet, and Janitor Joe. But, again, we covered this the last time around.
So what's different on this new record?
Glad you asked.
Essentially it's just "better". The first one was really good, as it mined the rich vein of push-and-pull noise rock, with an undercurrent of melody to keep it from falling in on itself. And this time around, they do the same, only...better. The ugly parts are uglier, the driving parts are driving harder, and when they catch their breathe, those parts are more "Slint-y". Which is a good way to catch your breath. Delta Gamma Epsilon Beta also manages to weave in some indie rock passages, and the occasional big alternative rock hook. Which, hey, who's complaining? Those are all fun things to listen to, so why not work it all in together, like a well crafted sandwich?
I've been really enjoying this record a lot. I think you'll like it too.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Black Heart Procession - 1

Label: Headhunter
Year: 1998

One of the best shows I ever saw was The Black Heart Procession at the Casbah in San Diego. Full on, low lights, black jackets, sunglasses, creepy as fuck, and more powerful than most bands can muster. All with piano, guitar, vocals and the occasional drum and bass. Intensely captivating and moving in a way that I've seldom felt.
For when you're feeling bad after murdering your (ex)roomate.
The band is Pall Jenkins (Three Mile Pilot, Ugly Casanova, Blacksoulwater) and Tobias Nathaniel (Struggle, Three Mile Pilot, A Day Called Zero), and on this album they are assisted by friends, Mario Rubalcaba (OFF!, Hot Snakes, 411, Metroschiffter, Thingy, Rocket From The Crypt, Sea Of Tombs, Earthless, Clikatat Ikatowi, and million others), Ryan Hadlock, and Jen Wood (The Postal Service).

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