Monday, March 9, 2015

Modern Warfare on Ut Records

I appreciate the hardcore/punk bands that released tiny vinyl in the lean almost extinct years of the late '90s and early 2000's for the seven inch. Between them and weirdo indie label home recordings, they literally kept the format alive. You could only get a lot of that stuff on a tiny record. That being said before the internet (and not to mention I was five) I still missed 99% of the stuff including this single from Long Beach California's Modern Warfare. I talked about an earlier recording of theirs, The Moderns also from Ut Records and this carries out those early ideas with even more skill and direction. An overlooked early post punk document.

A-Side's "Dayglo" opens with bursts of warm guitars under a layer of fuzzy distortion when all of a sudden an alternate heavier high jangle plays in an off kilter rhythm opposite that main riff in a Gang of Four style chunky block. It's blasts of muted strums and the two melodies play off each other in a call and response messed up delay feel that dizzyingly pans between speakers. They have a stilted, manic energy like this era's Devo, it's serious and technical but there's something a little goofy about the vocal delivery. Not that the instrumentation isn't extremely serious. It's as calculating and fast in this dawn of electronics taking over everything. "Shadows" comes up with an impossibly fast jangle melodic loop that could be an early contender in tracing the hardcore strain that came out of this part of the country. As fast as a Wire song and with the same unbelievable catchiness they sweep through changes like clockwork. The layers of high bent distortions that stab into this are reminding me of those similar jabs from Jay Reatard, when you can layer distortions together to end up in synth waves.
B-Side's "Delivered" comes in with a measure of those same synth guitar tones, fuzzy, thick slabs stacked up which cut off and they're chopping pieces up and editing them back together in this choppy nervous style. I'd compare them to The Feelies but this is going way too fast and is infinitely more complex. I love his vocal style though, the slight echo working slightly in a higher register than you'd expect leaving them open to be aligned with something you'd get from art school dropouts playing CBGB's. A real surprise, this is a fantastic repressed document. Hopefully the future is taking notice.

Get this from Ut Records.

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