Michael T. Fournier
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Monday record review 6/11/2012: “Summer of Indifference” by Black Wine

Tour has its own relativity, akin to moving airport walkways. A set of guidelines which are at first unnatural become the norm, then comforting before rudely coming to a halt with that step off. On that moving walkway, you move twice as quickly as just walking, despite pulling luggage behind you. Everyone else becomes a slowpoke, trapped by their own unremarkable locomotion. Then that step where twice as fast becomes unremarkable locomotion, accentuating the previous speed, and the return to normal (whether or not you put quotes around normal).

The luggage is the car, the van, the rituals of obfuscating what seems an obvious target, with out of state plates, dead bugs no amount of gas station squeegeeing can remove from the windsheld, stickers and dashboard tchotchkes and crumpled foodbags up front. The awkward first conversation, the bonding that comes with performing, having performed. Finding a place for the sleeping bag / air mattress. Breakfast. Maybe a drive-through of the town. Then it’s off to the next place.

Until it’s over.

The mundane made even more mundane by the whole experience: whereas mere days before it was the atlas, the GPS, old friends and new ones, it’s suddenly a bunch of bullshit which doesn’t seem at all important: the smell of something funky and forgotten in the fridge, the water heater conking out pre-shower, going to the dentist for that semi-annual.

Ocean’s Skin

Black Wine understands all this. Because of the nineties—because of grunge, maybe, the invented genre to provide an explanation for a bunch of disparate bands suddenly succeeding in spite of the record industry, and said industry being like ‘oh yeah, we knew that’ even though they fucking didn’t know that—the word “indifference” has been become pejorative. So, if taken the wrong way, especially before an actual listen, Black Wine might come across as a bunch of slackers. These guys and gal, though, are anything but. These cats work. In a world of viralty and quick hits and decreased attention spans, they play shows, record, and tour, slogging it out. The titular indifference isn’t slack or ennui. It’s indifference to everything but their focus, the music and tour cycle, the mundane and humdrum day-to-day-in-one-place stuff being shed in favor of a completely different set of problems and solutions and rituals. Everything is accelerated, then it’s over. It’s hard to get out bed when it’s finished. The smell of strangers is everywhere when bands stay at the house after tour ends. It’s a reminder—like they need one—of the time when priorities shift away from the bullshit, back to the real.

Spit to See the Shame

The band is off soon in support of their forthcoming record. They’ll play all over the country (with Brick Mower, no slouches themselves) and have a great time and meet people and live the life accelerated by introductions and departures and probably not garner the notice they continue to earn with each release and show because, as the album begins, what you get and what you deserve: they are not the same. But what you get is anything but mundane.

(My buddy Mike Faloon kept a 10-day journal of listening to this record, which rules over this lame crap and can be found here)



Read more: http://365aay.com/y3d236/#ixzz1xd8pk4ZN

1 note   #Black Wine  #Don Giovanni Records  #punk  #New Brunswick  #New Jersey  #record reviews  #Writing    source: 365aay.com 8:55pm 12/6/2012
Monday record review 3/5/2012: 1.6 Band’s self-titled LP

The most intense part of any moving day is inevitably couch-related: this familiar object, one whose multiple functions revolve almost solely around relaxation, becomes a monument to futility as its arms and feet transform into hindrances as a bunch of poor, exhausted saps try in vain to stuff the damn thing up (at least) one flight of stairs, muscles straining under both weight and unnatural angles. Then the process is forgotten until the next move. But afterwards, the requisite pizza and beer are awesome because the calories have been earned lugging and hefting and haggling and positioning—carbs be damned!

Legacies are like that: ultimately rewarding, but heavy, and largely divorced from process. Rather than concentrating on the process, how the current destination was reached, there’s a tendency to sit still, ignoring the twists and turns inherent in any stylistic trajectory.

1.6 Band doesn’t have a huge legacy—this LP, a few singles (including the excellent “The Checkered Past of All Things Present,” released in tandem with some recent shows [all of which I missed, dammit!]) —but what they left is indicative of this love of process and positioning. The music they play is instantly identifiable as hardcore punk, but that identification carries with it some stagnant signifiers: it’s a genre largely more interested in the post-move relaxation than getting the couch up the stairs. The tropes can be heavy and obvious.

Adult Hitler

What 1.6 Band does on their lone LP is take the hardcore signifiers and twist them in such a manner than their music, though familiar, becomes entirely their own. The most “traditional” member of the band is Kevin Egan, whose shouts throughout are strong and sustained. His lyrics, though, are much more sparse / way less didactic than the average Youth. Crew offering, leaving listeners enough space to plug in their own concerns over the provided framework. It’s impossible to discern what he’s talking about, specifically, when he sings, in “Plastic Bags” “who planted the seed? / inside my brain? / It’s gonna take a lifetime / I didn’t have to feel all this pain,” but that’s the point—specificity dictates, and dictation dates. Egan’s lyrics, because of their open-endedness, manage to evolve over time, maintaining relevance through their open-endedness.

There’s a subsect of folks who don’t listen to heavy music for the lyrics, granted. Luckily, everyone in the band is great musically. There isn’t a simple way to explain the band’s music because there’s no one blueprint that they follow. Guitarist Mike Yanicelli often leads with atonal stutters and bends, hiccups full of purposefully placed wrong notes, shrill harmonics. On “Threads,” his quick three-note progression sounds almost metal in delivery before yielding to a more traditional power-chord chorus before the bridge slows and groans under its own weight. Meanwhile, virtuoso drummer Vin Novara (who later played with some ex-Hoover dudes in the underappreciated Crownhate Ruin) puts on a clinic of 32nd notes, fills and rolls which expertly spackle the space left by bass player Lance Jaeger, whose gymnastic playing sometimes drives the song forward and sometimes adds color. Again, there’s no set pattern: at the onset, “Keeping Me From Killing You” is Jaeger’s bass’s show, just as “Threads” was Yanicelli’s. But songs like these, in which one guy seems to be driving, there are shifts—no bogarts here!—and spaces for argument.

The songs are largely in four or eight, but are sufficiently mathy to tilt heads in the pit and, after a few listens, induce new rhythms. In other words, the 1.6 Band wants listeners to be aware of the twists and turns in their heaviness before settling into them. In other words, get ready to do some work before you eat your pizza.

—Mike F.



Read more: http://365aay.com/y3d139/#ixzz1oGpcKDKO

  #1.6 Band  #punk  #punk rock  #New Jersey  #Gern Blandsten  #record reviews  #records  #hardcore  #unk rock    source: 365aay.com 2:02pm 5/3/2012
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