Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rival Schools Found

I'll be posting soon about other stuff, but for the past week I've been listening to the "New" Rival Schools release "Found" . I think Walter has done very little wrong in his career, except follow logical sequences.  This is material recorded in 2002 for Rival Schools, as opposed to Quicksand, or Gorilla Biscuits, or Civ, or solo. Since it was recorded, Walter has released a solo record, another Rival Schools record, and toured with Quicksand. See what I mean about sequences? Anyway, as I understand it, the specific goal for Rival Schools is to make melodic post hardcore , as opposed to the post hardcore metal of Quicksand, acoustic post hardcore solo stuff, NYHC Gorilla Biscuits or Pop-Punk Civ. Get the idea?  While my favorite incarnation is Quicksand, Rival Schools is a close second and I think folks new to Walter's music could easily confuse Rival Schools for Quicksand. One factor is the immediacy- Rival Schools tends to be more raw, more direct, less dense and complex than Quicksand, and another is that the rest of the band is different, and different players play things differently. In both of these factors, Found is very much a Rival Schools record. The cover of Buzzcocks is telling, however. Much like calling Buzzcocks "Pop Punk" sells short their subtle nods to krautrock, and  psychedelic music- This is not exactly "Post Hardcore" as much as it is a post punk informed hardcore-influenced rock album. I mean you start with the "punky reggae" party that produced everything from Alternative TV to Zounds, then add the pure teenage America aggression of Hardcore, then inform it with the skewed pop perspective of the Pixies and Pavement. In other words, what Walter Schreifels does, is make rock music from the perspective that starts with the late 1970's as the base, and acknowledges what came after- much like a band like Led Zeppelin starts with the Rock  and Roll of the 1950's, and acknowledges the 1960's, and then, incorporated their contemporaries in the 1970's. The point is that English post punk is the "classic rock" base for what Rival Schools does, not Hardcore. This makes them miles apart from most other "post hardcore", and- if you remember 2002 as well as I do- they were rejected by the "Post hardcore" crowd as being Walter's "College rock" sellout. Much like any other cry of 'sellout" it is based upon a misunderstanding of perspective. In Quicksand, Walter wasn't influenced by NYHC- he had partially invented NYHC and was escaping it- So how can he sell out post Hardcore, when he was creating it, by trying to escape a prior creation? His problem is that he is seminal, not contemporary- again that problem of time, and sequence.
So, taken more atomically- The songs on here sound like Fugazi meets Rage Against the Machine ( "Dreamlife Avenger")  or Cro Mags meets My Bloody Valentine (" Indisposable Heroes")  or Sugar meets Ruts (" Paranoid Detectives")  or Gang of Four meets Dinosaur jr ( "The Soft Skin")  or Pixies meets Buffalo Tom ( "Missing Glider"). If you like hard, nearly Metal, post punk and 1990's Alternative mixed in equal measure, I'm pretty sure you already are listening to this, but on the off chance that you're not, you should be.

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