Boilermaker "Leucadia" CDPosted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2006 @ 12:58pm » permalink
While hailed as somewhat of an influential underground icon in certain circles, Boilermaker certainly never achieved anywhere close to the exposure that they should have, and remains criminally underrated to this day. I'd be surprised if many people reading this are familiar with the band, but when I first encountered the beautiful "Pathos Delay" on an Extent Fanzine sampler CD way back when I completely flipped out. It remains my favorite Boilermaker track to this day, and is actually one of the most striking and gutwrenching songs I've ever heard in my life. Despite heavy searching it took about three or four years for me to finally get the chance to hear more from the band, which was when the retrospective 17-track "Leucadia" collection CD was released in 2001, and of course I was thrilled by the rather subdued yet completely inventive and unique emo/indie rock that greeted me.
The trio formed in the general vicinity of San Diego in 1992 and released three full-lengths throughout the 90s: "Watercourse" (1994), "In Wallace's Shadow" (1996), and "Untitled" (1998). Their style was a generally moody and restrained brand of material that builds largely around slow to midpaced clean guitars with occasional forays into louder distorted territory or the rare occurrence of something a little zippier and more energetic (Read: A lot of this shit is depressing!). They definitely have that jangly sort of edge to their sound, which is something that I tend to associate with the San Diego area in that particular time period, but like some of the other finer outfits from the region their songwriting manages to weave that certain rugged sense of looseness or noisiness within a fluid framework that always feels controlled. The amazing vocals certainly play a key role in identifying the band's distinctive style, and I'd actually rank bassist/vocalist Terrin Durfey as one of the best vocalists to have ever graced this particular genre – no doubt about it.
The band never officially broke up, they just sort of drifted apart after their final record – during which time Durfey actually beat out a bout of cancer. They regrouped in late-2000 after regaining the rights to their full-lengths and recorded two new tracks to bookend the "Leucadia" release. Apparently they had every intention of continuing to write and record new music, but unfortunately it seems as though they may have simply faded away once again? Either way, these guys were a real diamond in the rough, so I hope some of you appreciate this material as much as I do. Here's one track from each album as well as one of the exclusive tracks from "Leucadia":
Now, as a general rule of thumb, I do not endorse "best of" collection CD's at all. I usually hate them in fact. Sure, sometimes it makes sense – of course Journey's "Greatest Hits" CD is impeccable, whereas it's far from mandatory to own every single one of their 10+ studio albums – but for the most part I find the notion that certain portions of an album are throwaways or unessential filler to be an insulting and dangerous practice that fuels the excruciatingly irritating single-based culture of the larger music world. This is especially true for a band like Boilermaker that only released three full-lengths. However, some of these records are so fucking hard to find (I've never even been able to track down a complete list of Boilermaker's discography that includes 7"s and compilation appearances) that there's almost no other choice in this case, and in fact it wasn't until a couple of years after the release of this collection that I was finally able to obtain my first official Boilermaker full-length. Some eight or nine years after discovering the band, I've still never encountered a single copy of their debut CD, and since "Leucadia" basically includes half of each record (five songs apiece from the full-lengths plus two brand new tracks), well… why not? While I would've preferred it had the band re-released each record in complete form, this is a very strong and comprehensive (considering the circumstances) overview of Boilermaker's recorded output throughout the 90's, not to mention the easiest of their releases to purchase:
So long, not long before I'm gone. I don't want you to drive me away. I don't want to waste my time. I don't want to waste away. Mow the lawn the grass has gotten so long I can't walk through it. Clip your wings I don't want you to fly away.