Sinking Ship, Down to Nothing, End of a Year, and Gracer…
Posted on Monday, September 11th, 2006 @ 8:46am » permalink
Fuck yeah! "Disconnecting" is the Revelation Records full-length debut from Seattle hardcore act Sinking Ships, who I had never heard of prior to this, but I'm damn sure already a fan, because this shit is great. These cats basically take relatively straightforward, angry hardcore and spice it up with shitloads of completely badass little dissonant riffs and some Dag Nasty-esque melodic accents (without sounding like Dag Nasty, of course) that all use the types of energetic picking patterns and creative arrangements that I love, so I'm a total sucker for this kind of thing, and Sinking Ships fucking nails it. They're not exactly rewriting the book or anything, this isn't alien sounding at all, they utilize a good amount of speed and traditional hardcore influences, but riffing-wise there's definitely a lot of interesting work being done that really catches my ear, and I really respect that quite a bit. Plus, I mean, the fucking songs, man… just listen for yourself, this band simply kicks ass. 12 tracks, barely under a half-hour. Boom. Done. It rules.
Sinking Ships "Auburn"
Sinking Ships "Comfort"
The lyrics aren't generic posi bullshit either, which I love, 'cause I ain't "positive":
We can't breathe. It's getting colder in the heart of this city. These are the reasons we have to leave. Take it in. Is desperation so god damn pretty? If we don't leave everything behind this place is going to bury us alive. Hold this town in your heart and it will rot you from the inside out…
Highly recommended, so definitely pick this up and keep an eye out for more. These dudes are definitely one of the best hardcore acts out there right now. Buy it:
Down to Nothing's Revelation Records debut is the concise three-song "Higher Learning" 7", which blows through three tracks of their heavy yet melodic and energetic hardcore in less than eight minutes. Aside from some ska sounding chords or whatnot in "Alright Already", the two new tracks are fairly straightforward, though they do offer some powerful songwriting progressions that leave me quite curious to hear more new jams from these guys – the title track is definitely one of their best songs to date. Also included is a cover of "Burn It!", by Four Walls Falling, which is of course an awesome touch.
Down to Nothing "Higher Learning"
Pick it up, kids:
I believe "Sincerely", on Revelation Records, is the debut full-length from Albany's End of a Year. The band is stated to have been "inspired by the Revolution Summer period of the 80's DC scene", and I can definitely hear that on this album – both in the recording (by Don Zientara at Inner Ear Studio) and in the songwriting, which combines melody and energy with pulsing rhythms, frantic riffing, and an occasionally noisy edge that leans towards that particular niche of the truer emo/indie realm. Most of the tracks are quite succinct (only one passes three minutes), and these guys tend to maintain a good sense of focus throughout, so they avoid a lot of the pitfalls suffered by other comparable acts through the way that they weave melodic undercurrents into the material to keep things somewhat more tangible and interesting. I really dig the vocals, there's just something about them that's inherently a little different, and they come across as really natural and comfortable as a result, which makes for a great fit against the music. I also find a lot of the drum work to be pretty damn slick in terms of helping to add force and bursts of energy to the arrangements with a balance of powerfully hectic fills and snazzy cymbal work. The clarity and spaciousness of the production certainly helps accentuate the rhythm section as well, so… in the end, while I can be quite picky about these styles, I find End of a Year to be among the strongest such groups that I've encountered this year.
End of a Year "Midwest"
End of a Year "Darnel"
As always I encourage you to purchase the album for yourself if you enjoy the material, and I see no reason not to make the buy straight from the label's massive online catalog:
Yet another recent debut full-length on Revelation Records comes in the form of Gracer's "Voices Travel". Gracer features ex-members of On the Might of Princes and Lux Courageous, and while I actually quite enjoyed On the Might of Princes, Gracer's style is significantly different in direction. This album centers very largely around lush, fluid guitar work that utilizes a lot of droning effects that create a shimmery sense of swirling ambience within which some really nice singing vocals do their thing. I hate using terms like "alternative rock" or whatever, but there is some degree of that happening here, which doesn't bother me, I just have a harder time trying to express with words what this kind of music offers. For me, the only setback here is that – as with many such bands – the songwriting just doesn't consistently grip me enough to really hook me in. Don't get me wrong, there's a ton of potential here. The vocals are awesome and the atmosphere of the music is, at its best, really fucking nice. But at the same time, the pacing of the 45-minute album is a little same-y, as are some of the more typical guitar textures employed throughout a number of the tracks. I find myself missing the dynamics and energy that an exceptional track like "Esperanza" offers elsewhere on the record. The layout on this thing is fucking gorgeous and really had my hopes up, and the fact that "Esperanza" is such an amazing song proves to me that Gracer has the ability to create some intense and moving music that I wholly appreciate, they're just not 100% there yet. They are close, however, and the strengths of this album are growing on me with time, so see what you think:
Gracer "Waiting for Departure"
This is one of those unusual records where I can't quite make up my mind. I tend to favor it because there are excellent moments present, and it's obvious that there's "something" here, you know what I mean? It's curious, and the band definitely has a vision to offer. I know there are definitely listeners out there who will already love these guys, but I also know that they have the power to do even better, so I'll be lookin' out, for sure. Make the grab if you're down: