It is a grey, cool late summer day just before the seasons change. It has been overcast all day but nothing more than a brief and barely noticeable mist has come down. I called out of work this morning and have spent the better part of the day working on my resume and cover letter, editing and casually bouncing between social media and job searches. Between the frustrating political posts and editing jobs I’m not qualified for came the disappointing news that the Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, NC would be closing its doors after 21 years of live music where everyone from Green Day to Ben Folds to Fugazi have played.
When looking at the pop charts for 1990, it’s hard to believe that the year Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer broke through, Jawbreaker and Samiam were releasing their first albums. While hair metal was on its way out, grunge was just beginning to form. Public Enemy and Ice Cube were changing hip hop forever. Adult contemporary dominated the charts, while shoegaze was ruling the underground. Here is what stood out to us from 1990.
I came much too late to the Bear Vs. Shark party. My musical tastes were much more oriented around Christian metalcore around the time that Terrorhawk was released but I do distinctly remember seeing banner ads for that record as I would trawl Purevolume for new music. I think not much later I would see ads for 30 Seconds to Mars or something like that and for at least a few years after I would always associate BVS with that scene despite the band having very little in common with that mid-00s post-hardcore. It would be some time before I would finally take a chance, thanks to a young Irishman I encountered on a small messageboard that I ran in my late teens(one of my first social media ventures) and though it would still be some time before those two records would totally engulf me; the seed was planted in good soil that time.
So, Johnny-come-lately as I have been–not just with BVS but with many great bands–I can safely say that I got in very early with Bars of Gold; the new vehicle for Marc Paffi and Brandon Moss, vocalist and drummer respectively. From the first live recordings to their debut LP of Gold, the Wildcatting-plus one Detroit based group have enamored me. Much like Bear Vs. Shark they have managed to consistently warp frantic rhythm, messy leads, and howling vocals into superbly catchy, lyrically mystifying yet emotional satisfying bundle. Right around two o’clock this afternoon my only aim for later that evening was to plunge head first into one of my most anticipated records of the year.
A few months back, Justin and I both wrote about some records that were the direct product of or exemplars of a lineage of experimental music from the heavy underbelly of the recording industry. Speaking for myself, that glimpse into personal listening history was brief and it did not take long before I would find myself turning to more familiar standbys. I would not say my tastes are stagnant as, though I have frequently bemoaned my own laziness in seeking out new music lately, I have lobbed my fair share of criticisms at “genre” music; by which I mean those bands that often swirl around the eddies of every buzz band(take your pick).
Not long into the new year and Tiny Engines was announcing their claim to newcomers Springtime. There are hints at geography and history with their gritty but melodic punk rock and their down to earth attitude but no member of Springtime is some Johnny-come-lately either. They know their stuff but resist the urge to closely ape their influences, instead they create a solid mix of breakneck energy and vintage Dischord melody and emotion; yet with it’s own character. Guitarist, Chris Carreon, found a chunk of time to carve out and answer a few questions for me.
Ryan Patterson(pictured above on the right) is the vocalist and guitarist of neo-crust titans turned noise rockers: Coliseum. On top of that he pulls his own as a graphic designer, an active member of not one but two side projects(Whips/Chains and Black God), and co-owner of online merch and record distro Shirtkiller. Earlier last week I caught up with Ryan about the upcoming Coliseum record Sister Faith; fan reactions to their Temporary Residence debut, House With a Curse; his design inspiration and how he remarkably manages such a full schedule.