Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rations - How much land does a man need? on 86'd Records

Wells, guitarist from Rations and 86'd records sent in his single the other day, which they've put together an impressive sleeve for this release, just like the Netherfriends, Cellar Hits release, it's a stapled mini-zine, 12 pages of collage, photos, quotes and lyrics, and you can guess from the title of this EP that it's not going to be about cruising the beach and smoking weed.
No, these guys have more in common with DBCR and their socially conscious messages.
The title alone got me thinking about what kind of shit is going to hit the fan when society needs to start having that conversation about property rights and how things are going to have to be shared. I know...that goes against the constitution, but eventually, someday we're going to have to get more socialist, if you want to call it that, things will have to lean more towards a collective society rather than this group of individuals. It's's just the people that have all the money and/or land also have a lot of government support and guns.
It can seem a little sad when I try to rationalize sitting around all day listning to music and writing about it. What the hell does that do for anyone? And that's when I have to turn my brain off for a while and let better people handle it like the Rations, which is a pretty loaded word when you get right down to one talks about rationing unless times are getting pretty bad, it also implies some kind of deciding body making strict rules to who gets what and how much...
But let's get to the music, this is a long Island 4 piece who are taking the heavy two guitar route, somewhere between punk and hardcore, but I have to say "A War of All Against All" is the closest thing I've heard on a long time that even comes close to one of the best protest albums about the not the one by Arcade Fire, but Desaparecidos, Read Music/Speak Spanish. These guys are combining the right mix of post-punk and hardcore with a crazy energy that make this 1 1/2 minute track soar with that same kind of polished rock from that At The Drive In era as well. High distorted melodies against Brian's distanced way-in-the background vocals, actually it's a little sad this one (written in '97) is hard to make out in this mix. That's the point of protest music after all, to get the crowd fired up about the specific BS going on, still a great track and you have to get into this massive zine to dive further into this one.
I'm happy these guys tend to go more melodic on this 5 song EP than screamy-hardcore, these are real songs you can tell the difference between, and get as heavy-pop as possible like Hot Snakes or Sparta.
The B-Side, "No Answer", has these guys making a hell of a racket again, but I think I'm hearing a toy xylophone mixed in here, or the plink of the strings past the fretboard at the top of the guitar...fugazi style. It's weird elements like this that set this apart and make it harder to just lump it into the typical hardcore stuff that I have never been able to crack. Finally the title track, "How Much Land Does One Man Need" is an epic Sunny Day Real Estate sound....this is really bringing all that back...there needs to be another smart band making this sound happen again. I have great memories for that sound, I don't know why it doesn't have more of an audinece these days. Solid rock like this will be coming back around like garage soon.

Get this one from 86'd records, who would never say you're stupid, or make fun of the other records in your collection. They might in the distant future make you share them with the other punks in the collective housing, but that's ok as long as everyone is very very careful with them.

This release was split between 10 labels around the world, literally...Sweeden, Japan, Australia...great idea, and extra punk rock to split the costs...makes sense to me.

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