Saturday, October 13, 2012
Classics from an Alternative Universe
The break up of USOT kinda bums me out. Sure, there are new projects, and if the band is untenable, it's better for them to pursue their best course, but I really did want to see them live, just once. So, I listened to my favorite record of theirs, this week: When the Revolution Comes, Everything will be Beautiful . I still think they didn't get their due for that record.
So, that, in combination with some posts on facebook by some friends got me thinking about some other great records that I liked, but few others, or at least too few others, noticed. So, I've been listening to them, too.
First, Arcwelder's Entropy. Amazing band that sounded like Shellac meets Archers of Loaf with Bob Mould singing They Might Be Giants songs. Yes, post-hardcore, indie rock, but something a bit more than the sum of the parts. They distilled a certain post punk awareness of certain midwestern hardcore types: the whole Reflex/Ruthless/Touch And Go/Homestead B-list type thing- as in the kind of band that would have been written about in Your Flesh magazine, but forgotten soon thereafter. While I might be an all-day sucker for that whole thing, certain of these deserved A list status, and Steve Albini including Arcwelder in his ATP line up says that I have this one right. (BTW, If I had a spare 3 large, I'd go. Jeebus, lookit that line up!)
So, Arcwelder playing ATP got me thinking about my big regret this year- not seeing the Quicksand reunion. Sure, I like Gorilla Biscuits and Rival Schools and so on, but Slip by Quicksand, that's a stone classic, and I genuinely pity you if you don't think so, as well. It's the punky reggae party of the Clash and the Ruts brought headlong into the post-hardcore 1990's, with Killing Joke and Helmet styled metal-isms thrown in to shine it up. Furthermore, I dare you to be excited by the second half of Fugazi's discography after hearing Slip. Quicksand dominated that sound so thoroughly that I really don't know why anyone took up that sound until The Refused came along.
That leads me to The Rise. I've mentioned them before but I talked more about their second LP. The first one, Signal to Noise is amazing as well. Yes, it clearly owes a debt to The Refused, but it carries that torch a bit further into electronic music territory than the Refused did. And, well, The Refused did break up, and the members did other, very worthwhile projects, but they weren't exploring that post hardcore meets Techno meets Jazz meets folk sound. The Rise kept most of that, though they lowered the folk elements, and really brought up the Techno, making it a different thing from The Refused. That the Metalcore folks bought in was surprising, and I think if people were a bit more candid, they'd probably admit that Signal to Noise was the gateway that brought them to The Refused- meaning that the influence The Refused had on The Rise paid back dividends in the proper way, much like Metallica championing the Misfits properly brought focus onto Glenn Danzig and company. On top of that, much like The Refused, The Rise were made up of very creative individuals, involved in everything from great rock bands- Aeges, Juliette and The licks, and ...And You Will Know Us by The Trail of Dead, to magazines and design- Law of Inertia magazine, multiple albums and of course, production and engineering. So, much like USOT, the fact that there will be no more records by The Rise is a bummer, but not a catastrophe, and there's some classic documentation left behind.