Thursday, April 28, 2011
Pink Reason on Almost Ready Records
Almost Ready Records sent this one in from Pink Reason who I haven't heard from in a little while, but I definitely remember the last sleeve looking exactly like this, only the reverse black and white scheme.
That made me to go back and listen to the Columbus Discount Club single from Year 1 with 3:16 and Sweet Sinister, which went from the slow rock bassline driven sludge of 3:16 to the loungy sounding 'Sweet Sinister'...and it confirmed it. Kevin Failure won't be tied to any sound...you get a new side of Pink Reason every time you flip the record.
The missing insert from 3:16 is an insane story...of course. I can't imagine anything not turning into a completely nuts story without even asking for it. The rumors and fantasy follow Kevin all over, who knows at this point what's true, but if even a tiny piece of it is...this guy has been through a lot and music probably has been something to keep him going from town to town...in fact I think he's about to head out to eastern Europe and Russia this summer to tour and '...study the history of underground/dissident/rock/punk culture there.' Kevin means it, and makes me feel a little douchey sitting at a computer typing about music. Get out there and go to a show, maybe talk to some people, get them to press a 7". It's inspiring.
Then there's the 'Borrowed Time' single which has a completely different sound quality...and if that track isn't a Ramones cover (it isn't - ed) , then it exactly captures that spirit of late 70s Queens, and Joey's echo. Recorded through broken speakers on practice amps...you literally hear a completely new space, the distances between recording tracks, the closets and bathrooms.
This single was my first entry into Pink Reason and the lack of credits or insert or even label(!) made this even weirder. Scared shitless on the B-Side is a different home recorded sound...and is that a drum machine? The guitar is devoid of any lower end or even midrange, and still there's a great melody here in spite of itself for the paranoid layered vocals.
I could see where if you are a super music nerd and want to start a band, you'd take one listen, read one article about Pink Reason and give up. You had better be as hardcore and dedicated, and nomadic and maybe you'll get a tiny little bit of respect. It's a good things bands are formed when you don't know any better....it's crippling.
So that brings us up to date....and what does this latest Almost Ready offering sound like? Kevin got into a studio in Brooklyn at the end of last year with two named contributors this time, Ben Greenberg on Bass and Jeremy Villalobos on drums to get a huge, fully realized sound compared to those previously named singles. By the second track 'The song with no name' is positively hardcore. Kevin even finds a second or two for a shredding metal solo before this side is over.
The first one, 'Empty stomach' has the fidelity of a Rapeman or a Husker Du demo, it's blown out, in the red, but then you can't ever seem to get that peak level just right, when they get up to full speed energy, it seems to be a part of Kevin's guitar. This is crafted punk, serious attention paid...and it runs right into 'The song with no name', talking about pills, bottles and guns. A little sweet reminiscing from childhood.
'Your Girlfriend (V3)' on the B-Side is a Jim Shepard cover...I know it won't seem like it, but this cover and the rest of his singles have kept me in a Pink Reason rabbit hole for like 2 days, going back and researching Jim, and Mike Rep...all of the Columbus Discount singles... I kind of love that surprise when you realize you had these things all along as part of that series, or bunch of singles you didn't get a chance to go through yet. They blast this Shepard cover out complete with a false start, you wouldn't have it any other way.
This live, blown out sound, when captured like this is perfect for punk, garage, everything I've been into these days....the Liquor Store single....
Massive distortion finale for a minute after the track which is almost and experimental psyche-out. I wouldn't put anything past them. Nothings out of reach. They're a power trio on this single now. there's a lot of years here, a lot of songs in their rear view.
I think that's why I'm fascinated with Pink Reason because it isn't consistent. I don't think it's about some kind of conscious reinvention, more like just exploring whatever he wants.
The sleeve art pretty much is consistent, always black and white, with that block lettering 'PINK REASON'. It goes back to classic days of xerox sleeved punk and hardcore, which this one brings back full circle.
7.50 or $18 ppd for this one, the prefeab messiahs, and liquor store singles, support Almost ready records, I could use more of those Worlds Lousy comps....or hey, a Liquor Store full length would be nice.
And while you're at it, go get Cleaning the Mirror from Siltbreeze...so glad that's still in print.