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Clockhammer "Klinefelter" CD

Posted on Friday, July 10th, 2009 @ 7:11am » permalink

Clockhammer - KlinefelterI've been so busy lately that preparing even three posts a week has been tough, so today I'm re-posting about the first CD I ever wrote about in the blog way back in early-2005. I have my old pal Drew "The Fucking Man" Johnston from Electro Quarterstaff to thank for this mighty gem, as his recommendations are always stellar. He threw the name of this record my way, I found it online for a buck within a couple of hours, and a few days later it was mine. Needless to say, I love it. I'm stunned that the band seems to have been criminally overlooked in their day, despite having a fairly respected reputation as musicians that seems to have stuck around, since I'm far from the first to champion their efforts some 15+ years after the fact, but that's almost always how it goes, isn't it?

"Klinefelter" was the Tennessee trio's second full-length, released in 1992, and their final output with their original lineup of Byron Bailey (guitar and vocals), Matt Swanson (bass), and Ken Coomer (drums). For anyone who cares, Coomer went on to play in Uncle Tupelo and Wilco, but for my money the buck stops with the Clockhammer material. Byron Bailey later reformed the band with an entirely new lineup (as a four-piece) and released one last record, but I haven't heard it since I'm not particularly interested without Swanson's ridiculously awesome basslines or Coomer's slick fills. Some reports had the reformed incarnation of the band residing in my hometown of Richmond, VA, but I'm not sure if that's completely accurate or not. Who knows?

Regardless, open-minded listeners should be all over Clockhammer's fusion of progressive rock and jazz that almost borders on "pop" writing sensibilities. After all, as quirky and fucked up as some of these riffs are (at a stretch you could cite a few ties to math rock or loose flirtations with metal), the material's pretty damn memorable. They've got a really smooth flow going on that tends to be kind of laidback even when it rocks out, and across the board they sound totally unique to me. I wouldn't really compare them to anyone by name. As if the gorgeous playing wasn't enough, I'm in full support of the recording, be it the appearances of beautiful acoustic guitars or just the right amount of raw bite to the distortion, or the warm resonance of the rhythm section. They definitely made damn good use of space as a trio, and some of the more prominent bass runs are quite incredible. While I'm guessing their style might take some people a few listens to truly appreciate, there's not a bad song on the entire record, and trust me – it's worth every penny. If I knew then what I know now, I'd gladly have paid full price for it, but thanks to the ignorance of the majority you tend to be able to find this gem for dirt cheap all over the place. The same goes for their debut, which I bought shortly afterwards. Don't judge 'em by their cover art, which was admittedly on the weak side. The music is impressive as hell. Not for everyone, I guess, but… give 'em a shot.

Clockhammer "Greying Out"
Clockhammer "Nullify"

You can indeed still score this fucker for but a few bucks, and there's currently one copy available for just a penny:

@ Amazon.com
@ Half.com

15 Comments...

  1. Anonymous says:

    dude, first you ditched the interviews, then you went from monthly reviews to dailies…now an mp3 blog? you totally sold out.

    love,
    jon

  2. AVERSIONLINE says:

    I know, totally. It causes me pain. But hopefully I can do some good by posting tunes for people to check out, and I actually think the daily updates are much more convenient for most people… it means a lot more people wait a lot less time to see their material get covered. I've been considering bringing back the interviews but I just don't have enough time to spare on that… oh well!

  3. The Clockhammer song sounds good. I wasn't sure about the singer at first, though.. I'll have to listen a few more times.

  4. J.A. says:

    You're off to a good start with this. Clockhammer were underrated as all hell during their run….I like the first album better(it's crunchier) but this still sounds good.

    Now post L.S.S by Neglect. dammit, that song rules!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Doesnt selling out preclude that you get some sort of reward for taking whatever action? Seriously how can you say Andrew sold out cause interviews were a pain in the ass?

    Anyways, this is good stuff. :)

  6. Chud says:

    Damn I just bought this after one listen. Only about 4.50 including shipping ha, damn sometimes I'm glad most people dont listen to good music!

  7. chris says:

    how can you say switching to daily reviews is selling out? that's dumb, man. at least now you don't have to wait forever to read some awesome reviews, 'cause let's face it – name me one site that covers such a wide range of styles with so much competence in every regard (whether it be the music itself, the production…), objectivity, knowledge and often humor, and i'll eat my own nutstrap. andrew's reviews are some in-depth shit, man. you don't see shit like that every day. and cheesy or not, mp3 blogs can actually sometimes be useful and i bet my life this one is gonna turn into some awesome shit. so mad props to andrew, the dude is doing a hell of a job.

    chris

  8. Anonymous says:

    Post some more noise mp3's and reviews.

  9. Jake says:

    Clockhammer was pretty good, but that Electro Quarterstaff band ruuules.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Love Clockhammer… debating whether to pay $40 for the last album but probably won't due to lineup change.

  11. Bluesteye says:

    Clockhammer was fucking brilliant. Man I wish they'd never broken up! That lead singer was one of the most talented dudes I'd ever encountered. Too bad! "Greying Out" is my favorite.

  12. Carlos says:

    awesoooooooome. will surely buy this just by listening the first MP3 track.

  13. Birkir says:

    I gotta get on this but first – before I forget – I'd like to namedrop another unknown band, Train Of Thought. Some of those guys went on to become Agents of Men.

  14. Justin says:

    Wow, I remember this band from my teenage years. I was the only one I ever knew who liked 'em. Their vocals were always a little Coutning Crows for my tastes but their music was solid and interesting.

  15. mark p. says:

    I fucking love this record! I mean the first Clockhammer album was great too, but the musicianship was kinda loose and amateurish (in a good way, but still) and I could never quite figure out how the hell they manged to get so tight so quickly. Klinefelter is just an incredible album by one of the most slept on groups ever.

    There's just no way to pigeonhole them into one category, which might explain their lack of success. They kind of border on "prog-metal" at times, sometimes they sound like some later SST Records post-punk type of shit (like Slovenly or later Saccharine Trust), sometimes they're playing straight jazz fusion, but the songs were ALWAYS on point. "Greying Out" is one of the greatest tunes I've ever heard. Simply a truly unique and incredible band.

    When I was 15, I tried to order the third album "So Much For You" for $20 from one of those shady ass gemm.com sellers.. You know, the ones that are usually based somewhere in eastern europe and have an absurdly low feedback rating. I didn't know better at the time, and obviously got ripped off (and stupidly enough did the same thing with S.O.B.'s "Leave Me Alone/Don't Be Swindle" CD a couple months later). It's supposed to be kind of crappy, but I'd still like to hear it someday.

    I always thought it was weird how no Uncle Tupelo/Wilco fans seem to know about this band.