Monday, September 29, 2008
Traditional Fools LP on Make a Mess records
Eric recently sent me the Traditional Fools full length based on a review of No dozzz a while back. I think, I still don't know to this day if they are roomates/practice space mates with Traditional Fools but that was my impression of something I read...maybe the address was the same? Anyhow, TF and Nodzzz share at the very least a no frills, raw, stripped down philosophy.
The thing they have absolutely succeeded in is recording a live performance, not in a club with an audience but in a studio in one day. It may have been a case of necessity but the sound completely benefits. If this isn't immediate, and probably played back to back in a row in one giant take, starting over if something broke, I'd be shocked. It feels on the verge of this breakdown at any second, they have to get this sound down before they get too drunk or start second guessing themselves.
Their logo is a black and white hamburger with sunglasses, the two most american or even more Californian cool objects haphazardly thrown together and drawn with a sharpie, it goes along with the simple DIY throwaway aesthetic. It's deceptively simple...there's nothing going on here, don't take this too seriously...this is a record for us. Take it or Leave it.
I am a huge fan of stripped down no gimmick sound, whether it was the low-fi movement spearheaded by Lou Barlow in the early nineties or garage rock in the late sixties or the whole shit-gaze of the past year. It's all the same, the song is the focus, not the production, not separating all the sounds into their own channels and pining over the mix with the focus on the engineer or producer. There's a lot to be said for a band that just needs someone to hit record. It's the sound, it's what makes sense on vinyl, the document of something moving at breakneck speed. They only need a day to put it to tape.
I read about about a blogger who asked them why they didn't record any CD releases and they basically said 'Fuck CD's'. The only other release I heard of was a single from Chocolate Covered records, and I love that they're sticking to this format, probably to their detriment, but it adds to the charm.
Side 1 starts out with a Billy Childish cover of Davey Crockett, at first sounding kind of lounge inspired slow basslines, and then the Traditional Fools sound takes over with everyone screaming 'Ohhhhhhh ohhhhhhhhh! Yeah!' This is where they put their take on the childish track going balls out, the vocals peaking out all over the place. But it's not the kind of thing you go back and overdub, it's perfect, blowing out the PA. Even laughing a little at themselves and keeping that take. The track...the album has completely punk, surf, rockabilly and garage written all over it. It's like all these influences are mashed together...a little stooges, cramps, the sonics, ramones (there's some great power chord verse chorus rock on Snot Rag) X, the list goes on and on, but all that authentic rock with plenty of echo poured on. It makes sense and fits in light of all the recent 'to hell with the production' sound. It's pure, it's honest, and can't be improved on.
It's on really nice white vinyl, which goes with this xerox insert, cut and paste black and white back to basics. Plus just putting on a big white record is great. It's played at 45, not for any audiophile reason obviously, my only complaint would be maybe it could have been an extended full length, but then this could be what was produced under the circumstances...what they were satisfied with at the end of the day. I can't fault a band for only wanting to put out what they are completely happy with. For all I know this could have come out of a session for a 7" and then turned into a 45 12". Either way it's a pretty incredible document of a band that's doing things their own fucking way.
From the label:
To order the LP ... individual orders should go to wizardmountain.org and buy it using paypal. watch Mondo Vision (SF's only punk video fanzine) while you're there too. To pay with cash ($11)send your well concealed scrilla to
132 Blake st.
San Francisco CA, 94117