February 19, 2005

"Saturday I jotted down some words I thought." - Built To Spill

The great hardcore bands, the pantheon, all had vocalists with a distinct sound. Some well known: Rollins; Mackaye. Some less so, but equally deserving of attention: Unity/Uniform Choice's Pat Dubar; Judge's Mike Judge; Burn/Orange 9MM's Chaka. I received a copy in the mail this week of a hardcore record I've sought to reclaim for a while, namely Orange 9MM's debut eponymous EP. This record includes the tracks "Driver;" "Cutting and Draining"; "Dry;" and "Can't Decide." It is really heavy, but also spare and slightly glossy. The production and style presaged the second coming of Emo in my estimation, at least as Hardcore picked up the genre after dropping it with the dissolution of Embrace and Rites of Spring and the D.C. bands of that era. I can and sometime will make a strong argument that Emo as it came to the popular consciousness a couple years ago sprung from the genre's rescuscitation at the hands of the (at the time) 17-year-old Jeremy Enigk, who captained the once-astounding Sunny Day Real Estate. But none of this is the point. The point is that this week, some 12 years after the original Orange 9MM EP was released, I finally got the joke of the title of the band's first full-length, which I bought but eventually sold off. See, the band's first long-player is titled "Driver Not Included." I don't believe that I ever put that together with the fact that the first cut on the EP is called "Driver," which, in fact, was not included (disappointingly so) on the first full length. The full-length did include a new version of "Cutting and Draining," incidentally. So yeah, in the mid '90s I thought I was really smart, but I guess I was probably kinda dumb.

It's nothing new for lyrics in hardcore songs to deal with the state of "the scene," but I hear distinctly now in "Driver" Chaka facing the wall that hardcore was hitting at the time. In the early/mid '90s hardcore kids as a group started to have a fancy uniform: for a time anyway it was the earrings that put a big hole in your ear lobes, army shorts, and a preppy-ish polo shirt. The hair grew out. The boots came off. The tattoos multiplied. The new template, musicwise, was best exemplified by Texas Is The Reason. The focus of Hardcore, from my sort of outsider perspective, changed from the music to the scene itself. Maybe there are 16 yr old kids out there now who still do it the way it was done back in 1990. But for people around my age, for whatever reason things changed, people walked away. I am no expert on this, I was never really in "the scene," I was just really excited about it and was excited to make and have friends who were in it.

Anyway, here is Orange 9MM's "Driver." Crank it up.

Tiny Mix Tapes likes Montrealer Harris Newman's new record. You can read about it here. I met Harris once while minding my own business up in Montreal there with Zozman and Rob V. A nice fellow.

The Monkey has a great little segment up, sort of in the same vein as the work done over at Mystical Beast, that connects the dots between Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart and Howlin' Wolf. Dig it.

KoomDoog points us to a pretty great article about guitar hero Nels Cline.

MLE, admitted to practice in the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania, points us to All Music Guide's entertaining evisceration of the latest Bright Eyes releases. Enjoy.

Here's the latest on the animal shelter where the Breitling family got its best dog. This place needs to fire everyone and start all over again. They are sitting on $7 million but only pay for $80 worth of veterinary care each week. If I was put in charge of this, some people's balls would be cut off, pronto.

That is all.

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