Friday, March 25, 2005

F, IV

KRISTEN FORBES- NEIGHBORHOOD

Kristen introduced herself to me at a Cave In/Garrison show like five summers ago- this crazy girl wearing a Batman shirt shouting over the band that we wrote for the same magazine, knew some of the same people in Jersey. This girl, I thought, is totally tapped. We’d bump into each other on sidewalks and dive bars, rock shows, give each other ninety second life synopses- details from her, usually, about planning a tour of like the Midwest and needing someone to drive. Lo and behold, she lands in a band with one of the guys from the Dismemberment Plan.

I saw Kristen play a few times, her solo thing- sloppy, loose and raw. Plenty of growling. Imagine my surprise, then, to find that her solo CD finds her singing like a credible, nuanced Chrissy Hynde over pretty guitar, interspersed with some low-grade canned beats (think ‘You Are Invited’) and little lyrical/vocal tics that remind me of Jawbox.

Four Hundred Years- Transmit Failure

Not wildly dissimilar from a lot of the stuff in the ‘I don’t get it’ folder, except that Four Hundred Years takes all the best tricks- the screams, the discordance, the math- and crams ‘em into little two-and-a-half-minute epics. The songs last just as long as they have to, and while they don’t always rely on verse-chorus-verse, there’s a structure to be found that involves more than spazzing out and flailing around. I loved Antioch Arrow as much as anyone when they started putting records out, don’t get me wrong- it’s just that legions of pale imitators can only do so much. Taking what you can and moving on, as Four Hundred Years knows, is way better.

Fracture- s/t

Atom (of …And His Package fame) played in this punk band before goin’ solo. Like everyone else, I didn’t know shit about these guys when they were playing. A sloppier NOFX, maybe, or a less politically charged Propagahndi- these guys have a sense of humor and have fun playing and would have been a nice complement to a lot of the bands that I saw come through the Elvis Room in the mid-nineties. I’m not sure there would have been much/any call for a reissue if it hadn’t been for the aforementioned Mr. Atom, but hey, nostalgia sells, and, as you well know if you’ve been reading along, I’m buying, whether it’s for actual or archival purposes.

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8:50 PM  

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