Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Beekeepers on X! Records
I had no idea Angelfire was still hosting websites, I saw this address listed for the Beekeepers but it had to be a joke or they've been around since angelfire began fifteen years ago? Nope, and you'll have a hell of a time navigating this insanity between the pop ups and impossible to find buttons - it's perfect. I also thought the "Raising the flag on tract homes" historic photo meant we were going in a hardcore fast punk direction but I should have remembered these guys are with X! home to The Johnny Ill band, The Protomartyrs and Tyvek so any expectations should have been tossed right from the beginning. There's a bunch of people involved in this, at least eight on this recording but it's far from dense, there's two Patrick's trading vocals but sticking with their withering take on all the things that make America a huge pile of crap; Strip Malls, advertising, cars, celebrities, model homes, big box stores and "Pallet Stacking".
The A-Side track has is a slow, Prinzhorn Dance School minimal art punk that plods in with xylophone, upright bass and saxophone, all lumbering down an uneven trail while the vocals from Patrick Mcglew are delivered in a half monotone, laid back style (now reminding me of Johnny Ill) like he got stuck in a bog and has been yelling for help for days. A suburban molasses, this character is working in a huge discount warehouse moving pallets. His life revolves around pallets and they poke at this mundane premise long enough to go from satirical to depressing. Like Gang of Four this protest rock comes off like a Burroughs jazz experiment with a sense of humor. Who should he vote for (throwing it away on McCain)? Slow jagged jazz plays behind a soft high hat that constantly threatens to fall apart, barely keeping upright. By the end the sax starts squeaking and freaking out, the vocals barely getting excited but it's just the training of his boring reality, his mundane everyday backed by a proto jazz band on depressants. The exact opposite sound of fighting against defeat; somber jazz instrumentation...and an angelfire website. Leaving enough weird clues that I already have no idea where they could be headed but going about this better than anyone. Are they serious or insane? Both valid in this kind of genius.
B-Side "Model Home Flag" has the fidelity of Times New Viking, a big band messed up from another static am radio world, it's an anthem for the strip mall parking lots like a misfit Captain Beefheart meets Desaparaceidos cover band from the point of view of these cubicle characters. Now they got me started, I'm a hypocrite and this is all hopeless, the environment, the consumerism, the waste...I'm no better than any of it. No one is going to change a thing, gas is getting cheaper!!! Sure, that makes sense. Keep driving until it's gone. These are the lyrics to my Beekeepers inspired side project.
"Parking Lots" finds this saxophone spanning vast distances while an organ plinks away up close and creating that bass line? There's such restrained instrumentation and still I'm having a hard time figuring out what's what. The way they're using these classic sounds but addressing modern ills is where this gets really weird. Dark changes and Patrick Robinson's meek delivery is getting pulled underwater by these reverb waves of two handed evil organ chords and distortion. That sax should be weird but it's all deliberately awkward, there's nothing like this. Who wants to be screaming at the top of their lungs, playing as fast and loud as possisble until the end of their days...it's as if Beekeepers are they saying that even that style has become co-opted by the man. If there were still mall record stores would they would be pushing the latest garage punk release in a holiday display? It's all depressing.
On black vinyl with essential lyric insert you'll want for "Pallet Stacking" from X! Records.