I was a sophomore in high school when this album came out. Barely 16 and high off of stoner rock like Sebadoh and Kyuss, I was looking for something a bit more melodic and less mopey. I remember first hearing "Goldfinger" (the song) and how it reminded me of "Co-coward" by Bettie Seveert. The loud, the quiet...it was ultimately perfected by the Smashing Pumpkins in 93, but felt like it was making a comeback in 96. I think this was right around the time I rediscovered Dinosaur Jr., through a friend that traded a MU330 7" for the Just Like Heaven 7". I felt that Ash and Dino Jr. were kindered spirits.
What I tried to emulate in my high school band, much to the chagrin of my hippie band mates was J. Mascis and Tim Wheelers screaming guitar lines. Of course, most of the time they just wanted to play Bob Marley covers and Phish jams. I really wanted to feel something visceral and untender. I wanted to find out what was on the other side of My Bloody Valentine, what was more melodic, loud and soft.
I found the only real britpop I could stomach in Ash.
I love noise. I am not sure why. There is something lulling about the static of Boredoms or the syncopated rhythms of Melt Banana. I recently bought the book "Noise/Music: A History" and learned more about this genre than I have ever known before.
Ever since the beginnings of concrete music, noise and the artists that explore the boundaries of the genre, has been evolving in the same fashion has rock and hip-hop, although in smaller spurts and circles.
For me, noise represents the personification of the Art of Possibility, and the need for humanity to explore chaos and disorder. Although I do not consider myself an anarchist, I understand revelations of movements like this because of noise.
For anyone that is interested in noise, please check out:
Deerhoof Boredoms Magma Lightning Bolt Ruins Panda Bear High Rise
Of course, those who are hardcore fans of the genre will make better recommendations, I have listed these as a newcomer interested in sharing what little I know from the last few years.
Went to the bar last night with darth_smoothies and a cow-worker. The bar is called rockbar and is usually inhabited by self-absorbed hipsters who regularly play rap and r&b on the jukebox. There is nothing wrong with this at all. Its totally cool. But last night I had a revalation.
I went to the box to put something on when I over heard 3 hipsters talking about Brittney Spears and her similarities to Lindsay Lohan - how if "Brittney would just tuck it in she could show off her tits like Lindsay and everyone would love her again".
I knew what had to be done.
I played "Sister Ray" by the Velvet Underground.
If you are not familiar with this song, her eis the wikipedia entry for it, which is pretty accurate:
The studio recording of "Sister Ray" was recorded in one take. The band agreed to accept whatever faults occurred during recording, resulting in over seventeen minutes of highly improvisational material.
The song was recorded with Lou Reed providing lead vocals and guitar, Sterling Morrison on guitar and Maureen Tucker on drums while John Cale plays an organ that was routed through a distorted guitar amplifier. Secondary guitarist Sterling Morrison remarked that he was amazed at the volume of Cale's organ during the recording and had switched the guitar pickup on his Fender Stratocaster from the bridge position to the neck position to get "more oomph". Also notable about the song is that it features no bass guitar—John Cale, who usually plays bass, was playing his organ on the take. The band had a sponsorship from Vox amplifiers, resulting in use of top of the line amps and distortion pedals to create a very distorted and noisy sound.
After the opening sequence, which is a modally flavored I-bVII-IV G-F-C chord progression, much of the song is led by Cale and Reed exchanging percussive chords and noise for over ten minutes, similar to avant-jazz. The recording engineer is famously rumored to have walked out while recording the song. Lou Reed recalled: "The engineer said, 'I don't have to listen to this. I'll put it in Record, and then I'm leaving. When you're done, come get me.'"
Let me attempt to describe what happened in detail. After about 4 minutes people were asking the bartender who the fuck was on the jukebox. He replied correctly and confused faces sat all around.
"Hey isn't that the band with Nico? This doesn't sound like her..."
After 8 minutes the 3 hipster Britney fans LEFT THE BAR. A group of 7 people had arrived and sat at a table next to us, stayed 3 minutes, commented about how lousy the song was on the box, and then LEFT THE BAR. People were leaving the bar in droves after 12 minutes...and there was 6 minutes left to go in the song.
One gentleman was walking around the bar, as if looking for the source of some high pitched annoyance muttering, "what the fuk! what the fuck!". This was awesome.
Finally the song was over. Half of the original bar patrons had left and the bar was near empty. WE were hysterical.
As a control, I queued up the songs "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and "Your Love" by the Outfield to balance things out. I knew that as soon as these songs began to play, spirits would rise. Sure enough, the people left in the bar sang along, knew every word, and began buying beer to celebrate instead of forget the harrowing experience of the last 17 minutes. The box got louder and louder, and it seemed the entire bar broke out into song when "Your Love" began to play.
I am not sure what I set out to accomplish in playing "Sister Ray" but I now know, as do all of you, what kid of song it takes to clear out a bar filled with people that might be taking themselves a bit too seriously.