Wednesday, September 7, 2011

25 Rifles -History of Flags EP - on Snappy Little Numbers Records

Snappy Little Numbers Records sent in another release the other day, this one from 25 rifles, also out of Denver, with a three piece of drums, bass and guitar sounding an awful lot like Mission of Burma or Husker Du's frenetic post punk. A similar straight ahead rock that doesn't have some of the theatrics or extremes of punk, but that early '90s adherence to a real structure and basically.... songwriting, which all comes across on the 4 song History of Flags EP.
In A-Side's "Episode", after checking out the lyrics on the reverse of the sleeve, it's taking me back to Unwound's "Laugh Track" and how their collective heads would explode today given the saturation of reality TV, where Unwound was referring to the idolatry of professional actors, 25 Rifles is marking the famous-for-15-minutes evolution with todays idea that some people will "...always need and audience to know / to know who you are". It's that weird increasingly self centered pressure to post minutiae on Facebook or Twitter. You know who you are. Musically, the steady 4/4 rhythm supports a distorted climbing scale, the vocals are understated, barely a melody until that last line has the rest of the band out of sync joining Jason in unleashing the chorus. It's all delivered with a deliberate energy, never out of control, just barreling along with a seriousness and real attention to songwriting. This track barely pauses and "Summer Fades" immediately takes over, Jason has these great Bob Mould style vocals, a little raspy, when he's drawing out the end of a chorus. It all comes down to the energy these tracks have, with all the nostalgic early days of this indie power pop, The Promise Ring, Rites of Spring, Nation of Ulysses, continuing a little piece of each of those bands through to get here.
The B-Side, "All Else Fails", even goes Replacements, that jangly distortion, the heavy melody, but did I mention that Jason has some serious guitar playing? Going from that agressive strumming to working in a separate single note melody in the middle of the speed, you wouldn't notice except this is a three piece that comes off sounding much bigger, when the band echo's those call and response vocals in the middle of this dense framework. In "History of Flags", they don't shy away from the politics of punk and hardcore, when it's done in a slightly abstract way, you get a classic track like this. You don't even realize where this is going before it's already there. A band that you want to get into that lyric sheet. The doublestrike typewriter font places it squarely into DIY punk and their sound is really classic. I'm going to finish that Andrew Earles Husker Du book and play this a few more times.

Check out their bandcamp tracks, this one is on marble purple vinyl, with download card from Snappy Little Numbers Records, documenting the underappreciated Denver scene.

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