March 3, 2009

Kam Fong | The Ardmore Sessions [1996]

When the snow piles up, and The Man keeps us down, we do the following: break glass and deploy The Fong. We often solemnly reference erstwhile, Wayne, PA-based post-hardcore trio Kam Fong here at the blog (even once here at that blog), but only rarely do we offer exposition. Let's quote ourselves: "What the record will show is that Kam Fong created punishing music with insane chops and often remarkably powerful lyrics. The full package boasted equal parts Black Flag, Frank Zappa and Kiss and had near-analogs in contemporary work by Don Caballero and June of 44." Usually we'll reach for the band's unreleased 1997 album, which has more blue-collar bile and driving rhythms than the artier noise here.

But after a few Fong-related emails in recent weeks we're posting something we've never posted in its entirety -- Kam Fong's The Ardmore Sessions. What makes this recording -- captured to tape at Chill Factor in the eponymous Philadelphia suburb -- special is that it is the only session the band did with alternate bassist and singer The Postman, a/k/a noted photographer Ryan Widger. While the recordings -- at least as represented by these files ripped from an overplayed cassette -- are generally muddier, there are specific moments here that were never bested by successive efforts, chief among them the terrifying final 12 seconds of "AFC." Other notable elements of these recordings which differentiate them from future efforts: 1) in the 10-beat rest following the anthemic pummeling at the tail end of "Vulcan Death Grip" one can hear Jones murmuring into his guitar pick-ups "I'm gonna get you -- I'm gonna get you!" 2) the slap-suck sequencing between "AFC" and "Harry Dean Stanton" -- it's perfection; 3) guitarist and singer Casey Jones's hollered direction at the close of "Eleven," "one more for John Lee!" 4) Widger's Bon Scott- and David Yow- channeling vocals parlay seriously demented lyrics, different enough from those of tenured bassist Chuck Madden to give The Ardmore Sessions their own considerable charms.

The quality of the tape these MP3s were sourced from several years ago was bad, so you will need to turn up the volume. You may also want to situate yourself away from anything smashable before you press play, as listening to Fong is known to incite smashing of stuff. And with that, here is the rock music. Enjoy.

Kam Fong -- "AFC" -- Ardmore 1996
Kam Fong -- "Harry Dean Stanton" -- Ardmore 1996
Kam Fong -- "Vulcan Death Grip" -- Ardmore 1996
Kam Fong -- "Eleven" -- Ardmore 1996
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Shyam Kannan said...

Those were empire days... Miss them

Jay Breitling said...

Shyam! Legend!