Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Death by Steamship - Facetious on Whoa! Boat Records

Got a new single from Whoa! Boat up today from Death by Steamship. I covered their full length almost a year ago and remember that the Seattle straight up rock sound, not necessarily saying there's any kind of specific grunge sound or anything, just that spirit of hard working, no shit rock.
They're back with this "Facetious" single and it sounds like they're taking that classic solid rock to a serious rhythmic pop post-punk place. A-Side's "Smoke and Sweat", after a slow build up comes off with a Les Savy Fav explosive anarchist rhythm, Jason's yelling like Tim, a distanced hoarse delivery about listening to the radio. "Why does every song sound so much better unexpected on the radio?!" The times I randomly have the tiny kitchen transistor tuned to 91.5, the alternate side and when they randomly play The Smiths or Ariel Pink, it's that weird moment of recognition that I love, you know do you know this? It's a weird kind of connection, happening live that you suddenly appreciate when everything is basically self programmed these days. Every playlist and queue you created and pretty much know. Even Pandora doesn't give you that completely random (and maddening) experience that someone out there is creating. Another ode to the radio, and this one a good thirty years later, there's still something about that medium that isn't going away. These guys just want to hang out, have a couple of beers and listen to that radio regrets. Simple ideals with this off beat, an anthem to turning it up. The vocal melody feels worked out almost first so these subtle shifting rhythms can back it up, and support the whole thing into a completely post-punk dance place. The back and forth antics of vocals, pushing that energy of this main guitar melody with Eric's weirdo beat. A solid opening track and I definitely want to hear more of this aggressive direction. A DJ comes in at the end of this taking you out to transition into a cheesey casio.
"Dirty Venetian Blinds" has another unbalanced rhythm thanks to Eric, who's going with a metallic clink in place of the snare. Watery distortion follows on guitar and Jason grabbing right onto a vocal line that only he's privy to. It explodes into hard rock, nearly with hardcore tendencies, the rest of the guys coming in with "Take 'em down! Take em down!" If there's one thing you come away with is that these guys will only tolerate so much before flying off the handle. This more complex sound with anti-rock beats is taking their stuff into a new place, while keeping that down and dirty attitude.
The B-Side opens with "You Need a Super, Special, Specialized, Specialist" and a new direct line in crunchy guitar sound skitters in, headed back to those heavy rock geographic roots again. Vocally Jason is dark and stuck behind an echo'd distortion, the texture of Raw Power, or's another side of the die. The guitar is almost metal, the percussion this time right where it should be, big room mic'd and booming. Going even further away from that full length, Death by Steamship sound like they're just getting started, making really unique choices on this single, further defining their sound. It's been running through the randomly colored beakers and tubes, evaporating down to the slow drip into that last test tube.

On baby blue or black vinyl with download card from Whoa! Boat Records.

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