Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Three’s Company: Reconfigured and Reinvigorated Backslider Are All About That Bass, Motherfucker

Photo by Suren Karapetyan
Sorry, two's company, and three's an adult movie.
John Turturro in Brain Donors, 1992

Philadelphia grind-violence dervish duo Backslider has brewed an exquisitely nasty racket since 2008 with the bare necessities of drums, guitar and throat-rending shrieks. And guitarist Logan and drummer Patrick were content. Early failed experiments in adding a third wheel only cemented the twosome’s desire to keep things concise. Anybody who braved the glass shard maelstrom of their audio assault would be hard pressed to argue otherwise.
Backslider could have continued cranking out immaculate music based on the binary concept and we all would have applauded slack jawed (just as soon as we recovered from the concussions they inflicted). But earlier this year Backslider unexpectedly rounded out their assault by bringing in bassist Jake.
“At first we were pretty much not willing budge on the topic. Jake was pretty persistent,” Patrick said. “I lived in Florida for a year in 06-07 and met Jake during that time. He's been in tons of bands, toured and recorded a bunch so he's no rookie. I can remember seeing him at a show before he joined in Philly, and him asking about it. I remember explaining to him that we were so used to operating as a two piece, it was more of an issue of that than anything and I had no doubt he could do it, but we would just jam and see how it went. Jake is a capable and great bass player so I knew he could do it no problem. After a few practices we caved.”
Jake was even more dogged about earning a seat in Backslider’s van after he heard the impressive Consequences album.
“I feel like at that point Patrick and I felt like it was time to branch out and start taking things more seriously,” Logan said. “We had a couple jams with him and it went really well. He's been doing this shit for years and he's no weakling.”
With Consequences, Backslider had broadened their repertoire, breaking up the speed freak brutality to repeatedly whack you upside the head with a sock full of Sacajawea dollars, taking their time to savor your pleas for mercy.
“I distinctly remember a conversation that Patrick and I had a couple of years ago, around the time that we were writing for the Nimbus Terrifix split 7-inch, that we decided we don't need boundaries and if we wanted to play fast, we were gonna play fast as fuck, but also if we wanted to play slow, we were gonna do that as well,” Logan said. “Since then, we've opened ourselves up to many different styles, and I think that we're better musicians now than we've ever been. It's more satisfying and fun, the world doesn't need any more 'powerviolence' clones.”
In that same spirit of no frontiers and no fucks given, adding Jake to the roster has also allowed Backslider to stretch their musical muscles and explore tones and timbres previously untested.
“As far as writing, his involvement and ideas have really opened things up for us, we're able to do things that we've never even thought to try before, and it sounds pretty unreal,” Patrick said. “The heaviness is more pronounced and the range of tones we're able to get balances out the sound, so much so that I wish we would've had a competent bassist all along.”

Maladapted Motherfuckers.

Backslider’s new configuration will get its first in your face work out soon once the newly minted trio puts the final touches on the upcoming album Motherfucker.
“As of right now we're about 75 percent finished with writing for the LP, it's going to be called Motherfucker and it's going to be just that,” Logan enthused. “There are a lot of things going on in these songs that are completely uncharted territory for us and they seem more like actual songs that move and grow as opposed to fastcore farts. There's still plenty of blazing fast hardcore but the arrangements are more prolonged and abstract. I don't recall a lot of the writing process for any of our records, except for the heated arguments during the Consequences practices. I can say that, for me at least, this is the most fun it's been to write for Backslider.”
After some personal and intraband turmoil leading up to Consequences, Patrick also said Motherfucker sees Backslider at their most focused. Not only has adding Jake rounded out the band’s sound, but his voice in the practice space is also pushing Backslider to be their best, the drummer said.
“I just put together a ‘discography so far’ of all of our material, and I like all of it. But, I think what we've got coming is crushing it all,” Patrick said. “Yeah, the Consequences writing period was a rough spot for us. We were busy as a band and also had a lot going on personally at the time too. It was our first longer release and we beat the crap out of ourselves getting it together. We were satisfied with the result. I think not only having a bass to pull the low end together but, having a third voice and opinion also is refreshing for us. The writing process has been fun so far, and coming together really well.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

G&P Review: Kaiju Daisenso

Kaiju Daisenso
Kaiju Daisenso
Tokyo Fist

The writers of the upcoming Godzilla and Pacific Rim sequels should sit down and take notes after a few spins of New York megafauna Kaiju Daisenso’s rubble shaking record: get straight to the fucking monsters. Nobody drops a 10-spot at the local cinema to listen to a bunch of whiny humans blather on. We’re there for the hot monster-on-monster action, so don’t fuck around and get right to the carnage.
It’s a lesson Kaiju Daisenso, featuring former members of Unearthly Trance, Serpentine Path and Helen of Troy, have indelibly seared into their souls with atomic breath. Their self-titled EP is a Rodan divebomb of no-bullshit, Ghidorah groaning grind. At 10 tracks (including a couple brief scene-setter pieces), Kaiju Daisenso lasts about as long as the King of the Monster’s screen time in the latest Hollywood reboot. But unlike the film, Kaiju Daisenso don’t pad it out with a bunch of bullshit nobody wants to see, so you’ll definitely be coming back for more.

Their EP may be short, but Kaiju Daisenso wring every monster moment out of every second with a master’s class in economical composition that honors just about every incarnation of Godzilla and friends from the horrific to the goofy (Just not Godzuki goofy. We all have our limits.). Just as they settle into a sweet grind groove, Kaiju Daisenso close out the EP’s first side with the UFO warble of “Hedorah Attack.” Flipping the record finds one of the many Mothra songs repurposed as a side two intro in “Infant Island Blues” before being nuked away by the major chord chaos of a rampant Godzilla on “Atomic Breath.”
I may have mentioned my love of kaiju eiga a time or two before, and Kaiju Daisenso hit that perfectly sweet spot between the campy rubber suited matinees of my childhood and the visceral darkness of the original Gojira. The only thing holding the EP back from perfection may be a bit of mud clinging to the guitars that blurs the riffing, but it’s the pickiest of nits because Kaiju Daisenso will lay your inner Tokyo to waste.

Full disclosure: I received a review copy.]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Seventh Seal

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast [it] into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Revelation 8:1-5

Happy seventh blogaversary, G&P.
Like Barry Bonds and Mark Maguire’s homerun records, this blogaversary will always come with an asterisk (unfortunately not that Asterisk*) next to it since I basically took half a year and just fucked off. And since I’ve decided to give this yet another go, no one could accuse me of being prolific. But G&P keeps creeping along as I find the time between work, family and a toddler who seems to have skipped a grade and jumped straight to the terrible twos and then taken up permanent residence there. While I don’t have the time or energy to bang out three or four posts a week like I used to (at this point three or four a month would be a triumph), I still have this weird urge to scribble the words about the grind and send them out to the interhole in the hopes of reaching likeminded mutants who have this insatiable need to grind and the analytical compulsion to take the music apart, poke around in its innards and figure out how it all works. Setting out to write the greatest grind blog on the internet is a bit like aspiring to be the tallest guy in Munchkinland, but that’s my dream and fuck it I’ll give it a shot.
I’m genuinely grateful that you guys have stuck around despite all the ups and downs and long silences lately. I hope never to lose appreciation for the fact that all of you take time out to stop by to talk about this stuff with me. It’s a privilege to find a community that shares my interests and has provided me the support and feedback necessary to keep going. So, as always, thank you to all of you. I really do appreciate it all.
So hopefully things can pick up a bit in the next year.  I’m balls deep in my next in-depth project story (and it’s slowly kicking my ass) and I have a couple of interviews up my sleeve coming in the not too distant future (i.e. between now and the inevitable heat death of the universe). Mostly I hope I can keep finding new ways to look at grind that spark my interest and hopefully yours too. I’ll keep plugging away at G&P as long as I can find the time and energy because the interest is there on my part and hopefully yours too. I’ll write some more just as soon as I beat this pasty guy in chess. Or maybe Battleship.