Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Break Anchor / Lawskof "169 Miles" split on Underground Communique Records

169 miles refers to the distance between these two bands towns; Break Anchor out of Detroit and Lawskof from around the lake in Cleveland. Both places are what I think of as once blue collar factory no nonsense towns you still wouldn't want to mess with. I expect their punk is about the same. Underground Communique separated them o clear red vinyl by about an eighth of an inch. Makes sense.

Break Anchor's side opens with "Don't fuck with me" that blasts in with serious energy and speed, a spazzy off kilter burst of rhythm, hitting all the changes with kicks and chords lining up. Perfect set of vocals from Kyle and Jay with that upper register Cap'n Jazz sincerity. Layering the vocals over each other, finishing each others sentences. It feels like the eye opening days of Rodan or Sunny Day Real Estate without mature cynicism. The track drops out to nothing but a high swath of distortion that gathers steam and feedback, talking for a bit close to the mic further nailing that Cap'n energy in abrupt starts and stops with massive pure naive power. Their Dag Nasty cover "Under Your Influence" makes me want to go back and revisit those guys playing on cassette in a freezing garage with two quarter pipes on either end. They've brought this into 2015, thickening up the sound with massive levels of guitars, clean as hell, piled up in layers and muted to get that chunky click exploding in the next measure. Pure enthusiasm and energy for the source and I'm looking at Dag Nasty vinyl on discogs as we speak.
The Lawskof side starts with "She Spilled My Coffee" and a growl of "I WANT" as this explodes into the weirdest time signature standing on lengthy fills having to punch in vocals to avoid inhaling. Ryan on vocals is being hard on himself letting this whole thing go once and for all or actually night after night performing this track. The rest of the band coming in to punctuate those more important sentiments in the wall of tight distortions, this is incredibly precise almost mechanical if it weren't for the far off manic screaming next to Ryan's vulnerable delivery. This cover of Operation Ivy's "Knowledge" is just as great as Break Anchor's cover. Super impressive bringing their complexity and speed to this classic track, keeping the best parts of the original intact. The best thing you can do with something like this is honor the spirit of that nostalgia while making it sound like today. They both succeeded. The bonus is really that you get to know both of these guys just enough to take things further. You just might want to get serious.

Get this from Underground Communique Records, red or blue.

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