Sorry. I have to. It’s really beyond me. MTV-U has been playing it on their cable channel a bunch and now it’s online for all of us to enjoy. I’m not going to promise that this will be the last you see or read about them here. Again, sorry. that’s just how it is!
Full disclosure: I really like Bad Design. Coming out of Denton, JP Hossley and crew have taken their aggressive post-punk into an even more sonically challenging, yet pleasing, direction with the addition of new guitarist of John Gillespie. Such a shift isn’t much of a surprise, given the dynamic loudness that Gillespie’s former band, the now defunct math-rock group Dear, Human proffered to a wonderful degree.
As great as Bad Design’s Self-Titled album is, it’s hard not to see the progress that’s taken place inside the confines of their Diamonds EP.
I caught a set of their at the Bryan Street Tavern a few months ago, and was really blown away by the power of their performance, and how well Hossley’s menacing howl translated in the live setting. I left feeling as though these guys have the whole “accessible experimental” thing down as cold as a guitar-based rock band can have it (maybe there isn’t such a thing, but if there is, they got it.).
Their Bandcamp page offers both of their albums for cheap and they’re both worth well more than the price you’ll pay. Also, keep an eye out for the gig-posters they design. Along with the musical talent, their graphic talents are excellent as well.
Sorry, I can’t get enough of Ume, who we spoke about a couple of days ago. Hopefully, you all feel the same way. Here’s a couple of videos for you if in fact you do. Enjoy!
The post-punk group Ume, out of Austin, has certianly made a name for themselves recently as an act that can crank up the amps, yet still impress with substance beyond the simple exploding of eardrums.
The trio, led by hubby / wife duo Lauren and Eric Larson aren’t new to the scene, by any stretch. Sure, they’re ready to make their mark known nationally, but that’s thanks in large part due to their hard-working past. Before the recent release of their insanely incendiary new album Phantoms, Ume (pronounced Ooh-may) toured heavily behind their previously released EP, Sunflower, and the Urgent Sea LP from 2005.
Perhaps the unifying thread for each of the albums is that it’s hard to pin-down an easy sonic comparison. It’s natural to look for comparisons when trying to describe a band, especially one that rocks out in as many different ways as Ume does. The guitars are loud, the arrangements precise and the lead vocals of Lauren Larson are piercing and authoratitative.
Tracks like the full-throttle “Rubicon,” which seems to be the album’s standout track, and the scaled-back “Hurricane II” are examples of Ume’s deftness at speeding things up into a frenzy, and also to shift gears down when the occasion calls. This album isn’t about blowing away your stereo speakers, even if their well-received live-show seems to often be (which is fine by us, by the way).
Since Phantoms will be seen by folks around the country (hopefully) as their breakthrough record, Ume will certainly (alnd already has) draw comparisons to another arty post-punk band with an attractive blonde female lead, The Joy Formidable from Wales. Look, there’s more than enough room for both buzzed about bands. And the fact is, there will likely be room for both on a great deal of critic’s best-of-2011 lists when the end of the year rolls around.
As much as “country” and “folk” can be genre labels that fall short of actually describing a band, due to their vague nature, so to can “post-punk”. Sure, it gives a general idea that you’re in for a guitar-driven ride with some challenging arrangements, but let’s face it, much still needs to be said in many cases if one’s going to try and analyze the sound of a post-punk act like Built to Spill.
Inhabiting a different, less emo end of the post-punk spectrum is Dallas’ own Broadcast Sea. Their new EP, Lost Generation (which at this point is available for free on their Bandcamp page), is an angry, bruising alternative to the sometimes shimmery tones of Doug Martsch or any other post-punker out there. Resembling the hammering menace of Denton’s noise-rockers Shiny Around the Edges, the quartet, formed in 2005 and led by lead singer Sterling Cash, busted out a lean EP. it’s the kind of smaller collection (six songs) that is more a promise of greater things than it is a sign of a band with but a little to give.
It’s not surprising that this band knows how to manage noise to a pleasing effect. The group’s previous record was produced by John Congleton, a guy that has made experimental downright accessible (OK, that probably doesn’t make sense). In fact, Lost Generation has done seemingly the impossible when it comes to its appeal. This is a record that has struck a rocking balance that will send meatheads fistpumping and indie-kids gazing even harder into their Chuck Taylors.
Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob