Thursday, October 22, 2009

Suetta full length on Summersteps Records

I know it's a 12", but after talking with Eric from Summersteps about this full length he released with members of the band that existed over 10 years ago now, I just had to hear it. Entitled 'Olympic Stain 1994-1996', it was exactly the time of my life when I couldn't start a band fast enough. A new one every weekend, it just had to be loud and consist of the same 4 friends. I was hoping some of that naivety and excitement of really not having much of a world view other than 120 minutes and some punk cassettes left in the garage.
I didn't need much of an excuse to listen to to this the past week or so now and see what I could come up with.
Pictured above are the four front covers of the LP, I should probably tell you there are only 300 of these, appropriately enough I got the Jason designed black and white cover. 'who smokes merits?' 'I will.' ...Exactly. That just kills me every time I look at it.

A-Side, song one 'Sonikally erik' is a great way to hit right on those influences that I heard were going on. All minor/weirdo chords scaling down the fretboard, quietly biding their time to blow up in that SY explosion and time change. This is a great instrumental that could honestly stand up against anything from that time period. Tons of great only complaint is it just fades out right in the middle of a distortion freakout...ok, who ruined that take?

'Girl', track 2, has got some sweet 90's sound, a strummed electric with that really distinct sound, like Dino Jr. or something. One guy comes in singing emotionally about being alone 'hold you like I hold no other girl', you know, you think this is going to be a little sappy number someone wrote for their girlfriend at the time...(that can really destroy a band, she doesn't even care, why did I think this was a good idea? But if you don't play it next time, that will mean something, then the band breaks up, I told you that song sucked)... but then another dude starts yelling, 'GIRL!' I love it, that dual personality. I think the opening guy is still happy about the relationship but then the second guy comes in and he's the one in the rain after the breakup with a pile of records. It doesn't matter whose fault it is. GIRL! while the other guy sings these serious ballad lyrics. Genius.

The vocals are almost Mudhoney sounding, that definite grunge yell, when everything was faithfully recorded, cleanly captured to tape by engineers. Bands fought a little to get a texture in there, something with less clarity.

Blue Light Special is another great song about making music, 'blow out all the amps' with a catchy melody, acoustic electric strum, and the Jason Lowenstein of the band is singing this time, clearly melodic and going to rock in short form a little nice off-key off kilter song about the creation process. This succeeds more than the grunge-ish stuff for me, it feels more honest, definitely more interesting to have this song about being in a band...that's kind of what the whole thing was about instead of imitating lyrics about life changing experiences...and love.

8 track we're talking, pure low-fi sebadoh acoustic room jam. 'There's an 8 track on the ground, it's something that I found.' It's just a pure hilarious acoustic practice room, living room song, genius, probably written in 10 minutes, great chorus changes, probably mixed right in the room with one vocal mic and one for the room....I wish the rest of the album was like this...

Give me this over any overproduced alt-country, or hardcore I've heard before any day, every band with any or no talent working with the influences I'm hearing on this, do yourselves...well do me a favor and press it to vinyl. I want to hear it, I know I'm not the only one. Do a run of 100 like's a selfish request but it's so important. I swear I will start a grant someday that's awarded every year to a band/artist that's as unaffected by the scene, the internet, as a contemporary outsider musician, it would cover pressing 1000 copies, whatever art they wanted and then maybe it would just be sold to subscribers. The goal would be to really capture the moment to that person, but purely outside of the music scene...I need to play the lottery.

It fucking charming to hear, sure it's not perfect, but that's what's so endearing about it, I know what it's like to just have this drive to create something with your friends, if your looking for purity, a day in the life of the late nineties then this is the unaffected, uninfluenced by money, studios, labels, close to a sound you are going to get. Seal it up in a time capsule, blast it out into space, it's the perfect document.

The B-Side 'Live at Manassas' is an entire live show of all new tracks, nothing repeated from the first side, although I was curious how some of them would sound live. Stand-outs for me included, 'Roadside Diner' which just goes through so many styles, that strummed electric sensitive, to breakdown yelling, it's got elements of Bleach in here, pop punk, and an audience. 'I wish I had Tins', is great for opposite reasons, one of those throwaway songs that would be a B-Side you played instead of the A-Side. I think it's about chew? Classic. 'Extruder No. 3' is their 'Leaves Turn' and epic track of rock riddled with distortion...I could actually mistake this for an old unwound bootleg, it's raw, live, goes on forever, loud as hell vocals into the mic.
It's like listening to an old tape of a friends band in his basement, where you were too preoccupied trying to talk to some girl, or got stuck out in the backyard trying to find where you hid the beer and didn't pay attention, you basically missed it. You remember vague weird things but now you finally can hear the whole story.
This is just universal.

Some left from Summersteps...get it!

This collection of demos and home recordings committed to tape back in the mid-90s collect the best of the groups' output. Lost noisy indie rock chestnuts that recall the sound of their era's peers and influences while forging a shaky, endearing and unique sound of their own. The album will be available in a very limited handhumbered edition and will feature 4 different covers each representing one of the members of the band. Suetta features future members of Kid Icarus, amasa and Youth Aflame (The Choppers). We are accepting orders now. (Please indicate which band members' cover you would prefer. If not, one will be randomly selected for you.)

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