Tuesday, July 12, 2005

P's and Q


My career as a promoter lasted for a whopping two shows. Still, though, I had a fucking blast. This one band from Washington state played the basement of my dorm with Stricken for Catherine, a straightedge hardcore band and one of Steinmetz’s pop-punk acts (was it Kid Company?). The other show I set up was held outdoors, funded by money I solicited from the dorm council. I had a pop band from central Massachusetts, a punk act named Nerfherder (not the famous band of that name- the other one), local folk wacko Dan Blakeslee, and this swirling guitar-rock (no skronk) five-piece from Jersey named ExVegas. They were the catalyst for the show- I had put my name on some e-mail indie promoter list. They sent me a note asking for a show; I set it up. Awesome.

I was hugely impressed by the band. For one thing, they were a little older than me (maybe by like five years) but they were still out there, doing their thing. They had a seven inch on colored vinyl, did Dead Boys and Devo covers. The coolest thing, though, was that everyone in the band was really nice. In retrospect, I did a pretty good job with the shows I set up, but I didn’t feel like I had a clue. Amy and Alex, the two heads of the band, were always very patient with me, very informative and encouraging (even afterwards, when I would write Amy these novella-length, epically emo emails detailing my romantic woes).

Amy and Alex’s post-ExVegas outfit is named Prosolar Mechanics (totally droppin’ the Hernandez Brothers Fagan right there). The progression is immediate and jarring- the three guitar attack has been dropped in favor of a more traditional two-guit/bass/drums lineup with elements of robotics (no WAY would those guys call anything they’re doing electronica, seeing as how they’re like space travelers and whatnot) edging their way into the driving, occasionally thundering blasts of classic guitar heroism. The whole program is buttressed by Alex’s cranky old man anchor vocals, which provide a vital counterpoint to the jabbing soar of Amy’s vocal leads and effortless melodicism. Jesus, am I gushing again? Yes I am. It’s only because it’s completely necessary, I swear.

Pulp- This Is Hardcore

I worked in a record store for about a year and a half. During that time, I heard pretty much every major label album that was released. ‘This Is Hardcore’ was one of the albums that we listened to a good bit. I liked Jarvis Cocker’s delivery, the tone in his vocals that made me, as a listener, question whether the band was putting one over on me. Plenty of humor/sarcasm to be found in his voice, to be certain, but what if a joke was being played on me? The best thing to do? Go along with it, ally myself with the band rather than think for a moment that there was something that I wasn’t getting. Which may have been the joke.

These lilting, brink-of-excess numbers that teeter on the edge of the Rocky Horror Picture Show cliff, straddling the line between completely overdone and winkingly campy. Buried underneath all the schmaltz and affect are these beautiful, poignant moments that cut through both the band’s bullshit and my own, getting right to the heart of the neurosis with an ease no therapist could muster.

(As a side note, I had this one ex whose favorite song was ‘Common People’, off of the band’s ‘Different Class’ record, this aching wail of longing wrapped in a thin veneer of sarcasm. I hadn’t heard the song [or, for that matter, thought much about it] until the day after I listened to ‘Hardcore’ for review, when I bummed a ride home from a bar in a car that was playing the song at volume with the windows down. One of those nights that found me throwin’ the horns and shouting at pedestrians- the kind of night, in short, that I haven’t had in a long time. Good call, Stefanie.)

Q And Not U- No Kill No Beep Beep

So Lungfish has been around forever. Fugazi, too (you know they’ll be back at some point). I would’ve never guessed that Q And Not U would assume the role of associate
torchbearers for Dischord, but here they are, still chuggin’ along five years later on a label that has historically been home to bands who barely stay together long enough to release debut albums.

‘No Kill No Beep Beep’ is a bunch of skittery, thorny songs that you can still dance to, rhythm section punctuating sharp bleats of guitar. Since this debut, the band has lost a member and has opted more towards the synth end of the spectrum, at least when I saw ‘em. Entertaining but not terribly memorable. Having said that, there are tentative plans to drive down to D.C. for their final batch of shows. We need legends right now.


Blogger u said...

i just read on pitchfork last week, (i'm sure after you published this), that Q and not U is breaking up.

9:56 PM  

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