A - Hot Buttons / Birthday Mode
B - Bigger Land / Hex
The sailors sound was the last thing I expected to hear when I saw this airmail envelope from England. I'm no expert on a particular sound supposedly coming out of the UK right now...I'm sure it's like anywhere else and you could make a case for any number of scenes happening, but this was totally unexpected. It seems the attention lately is on the electronic stuff, at least a lot of the singles I've had experience with lately.
Gringo records kindly sent this Sailors self-titled EP and I've waited far too long to talk about it. When I finally put it on the other day, going through the pile that builds up next to the record player, I had to keep checking the press release. Was this the sailors...they're English? Mind you that name doesn't evoke the punk, post-punk sound here. They could be straight from something Dischord in the 90's.. in the best way. I'd swear it was some b-side Fugazi. It's taking me back to skating in my garage with a bunch of older kids who would take over the radio and play Dead Kennedys and Circle jerks...or even later early Unwound...all the stuff from that rarities compilation.
But this is more of an homage to that sound, much in the way Love of Diagrams is spinning it slightly, just enough to place it somewhere in more recent history.
A track like 'Hot Buttons' or 'Bigger Lands' starts out with an off kilter bass hook and distorted guitar looped melodies completely unrelated, like they're from two different planets. Nick half talks, hoarse yells on top, giving it that familiar urgency. Who cares about singing when you've got something to say...or better yet, everything else sucks so we started a band. In a Rollins band way, or actually more Black Flag...but it's not dated in the way some of that stuff can now sound in it's DIY, indie label infancy, and really shitty recordings.
That's where this differs too, it's clean like shellac...and maybe it's the fact that the sailors can definitely play and construct something just approaching the math rock. But it's raw and more punk than math, and more post than punk...like in 'Birthday mode' this unplayable guitar riff keeps changing, getting more and more dissonant, there's almost nothing keeping it from all falling apart, but it's calculated and not just chaos, staying sort of borderline experimental. Like some of The Minutemen's minute and a half melodies.
So there's a million reference points for you...really all these just kept coming up while listening to this...they have good company. It's not the passable punk rock that can happen with something supposedly anyone can do.
You can find the SAILORS 7" in all good record shops. If you are too young to be interested in record players then you can always download the 7" from emusic along with most of the Gringo back catalogue. Don't stop buying records though, eh?
They included 4 tracks in appropriate punk style and at 45! Nothing feels short or crammed in, but it's enough to have me keeping an eye out for anything else I can find and looking further into this entire post rock indie label and some of their other bands.
Impressive stuff from this gem of a single.
It's too bad it's so limited, more people need to hear this.
Act quick as it's being distro'ed here in the US by stickfigure.
It's a good use of that money grandma sent you in the Christmas card.
It's also available of course from Gringo records in the UK.
Also, just a side note, I was surprised to see my picks on Ecstatic Peace's live poll for 2007. I guess they'll print anything because who the fuck am I? It's awesome and I don't know how or why they emailed me but I was honored. Seriously...and surprised. It kicks ass, and this is like the major label of the indies. I respect their releases and Mr. Moore.