This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Strike Anywhere

First things first, I just want to say that Fergie's "London Bridge" is the worst thing since Khemer Rouge. Just what we need, another reason for illiterate Long Island girls to act like total cunts. Of course, it's what I expect from a member of the Black Eyed Peas, who are like the Roots for people who find The Boondocks comic strip to be too edgy.

Anyway, Strike Anywhere. For those of you not in the know, these Richmond dudes rose from the ashes of a group called Inquisition to release a killer EP called Chorus of One. It was followed up by the stellar "Antidote/Alseep" single and the jaw-droppingly good Change is a Sound, which I think will stand as one of the best punk album of the 00's. Before I had really heard anything by them, I saw them live in concert around 2001, and it was like the finger of God had been shoved up my nose and jammed into my brain. I had no idea what to expect when Thomas Barnett, a man with a full head of dreads and a Discharge t-shirt came onstage, surrounded by dudes in tight-fitting sweaters and birth-control glasses. They proceeded to blow the roof off of the 9:30 Club, and it still stands as one of the best concerts I've ever been to.

Then came 2003 and their second album, Exit English. Most bands suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump, but this was one of the worst. All of the grit and nimble explosiveness that had defined their earlier sound was replaced by shinier production, riffing, and songs that sounded lethargic and forced. While some tracks were winners (like the tasty "New Architects"), most of the album was boring, and many thought it sounded the death knell of the band that had at one time seemed invincible.

Their upcoming third album drops in two weeks, and having heard it, I can say that the group is back, sort of. Dead FM is characterized by Banrett once again bringing the pain at the mic. His voice is the band's best weapon, and his commanding, throaty emoting is as much an instrument as the bass or drums.

Much of Dead FM is an amalgamation of Strike Anywhere's first two LPs. While the band brings back some of the hardcore intensity of their early days, the guitars are still clean. It's a compromise, but it works more than it doesn't, especially on "Hollywood Cemeteries," with Barnett howling "I found out all my heroes are just parasites!" over a rollicking bassline and a melodic guitar part. While the band might never again approach the intensity of, say, "Sunset on 32nd," they probably won't ever sound like alterna-rock again, and thank Christ for that.


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