Friday, September 23, 2005


Swiz- No Punches Pulled

Swiz record review, punches pulled:

This compact disc compiles the life work of Washington D.C.’s Swiz, an underappreciated band from the late eighties. Impassioned, gritty vocals, melodic post-core guitars and a solid rhythm section on this seminal re-release. Crucial!

Swiz record review, no punches pulled:

I’ve said it probably a half dozen times over the course of my reviews (most recently in my Soul Side review): location, location, location. It’s all about when you get into a band, how many other acts of the same ilk/genre you’ve already heard. In my case, I backtracked, dug up the corpse of Swiz after reading ‘Dance Of Days’ to check out the all-star lineup: Shawn Brown after his brief stint in Dag Nasty, Nathan Larsen before Shudder to Think, and, most importantly, Jason Farrell before Bluetip and Retisonic. By the time I found Swiz, I had heard approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000 records that followed the same blueprint. Swiz may have come first and paved the way, criticspeak punches pulled blah blah, but it didn’t make me feel anything except one review closer to the letter Z.

Talking Heads- Remain In Light

I keep waiting to wake up one day and find that I have a mature, developed appreciation for the work of the Talking Heads. Jesus, everyone always speaks so highly of them, lauds them and heaps them with such import that I feel like it’s just a matter of time before some switch just clicks and I finally, fully get it all.

I’ve been thinking about it for a good while, listening to the record over and over again. Some of the lack of connection comes with some of the sounds the band plays on ‘Remain In Light’- honestly, I can’t stand some of the drums, the congas. The whole world beat thing drives me bananas, I confess. Totally without rational explanation, but that’s how we roll, dog. (Growing up in New Hampshire probably has something to do with it.)

Having said that, though, the Talking Heads do make sense to me more as time passes. ‘Once In A Lifetime’, the hit, is the obvious reference point here- there are days where I totally wonder how I landed amongst the bunch of malcontent art freaks that I roll with, how I came to live in this fantastic neighborhood, how I got my particular worldview, grinding it out and actually finding the courage to start getting it all out there so the rest can fall into place.

Davis Byrne’s lyrics remind me of Radiohead- the scathing yet detached paranoid screeds against how things are supposed to be vs. how they actually are (or how they appear to be, at least). Some of the sounds (yes, some of the sounds I can’t fucking stand, I admit it) must have sounded pretty damn revolutionary when this slab was dropped in 1980- the jittery bleats of guitar morse code, the echoes, keyboards, even the percussion. Fine.


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9:53 AM  
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