Last week, with my (often gruffer) sensibilities in tow, I sat down to write something about the year's local albums that I felt had the most staying power, and here is what I came up with (for the record, my personal list would also include Shabazz Palaces' all-world Black Up, and maaaaaybe Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues, which were written about by Eric Grandy and Chris Kornelis respectively in this month's Reverb Monthly), preceded--in ambiguous language--by the manner in which I discovered them:
One found my ear at a concert, where live versions of the songs on it were performed on stage with a number of steaming tea pots and incense. It was a duo that had worked well together before, so I was immediately drawn in. When they played a track called "High Tea", I simply had to have their album.
I heard the other record for the first time after the band's label sent me a copy, a copy that I had been looking forward to receiving for over a year. To say I'm a huge fan of the band members' other projects might be an understatement. I was able to see the band play live at our own Reverb music festival, and it was hands down the loudest show I have ever seen. I would liken the show in the smallish back room of the 2 Bit Saloon to shot-put dodgeball at close range.
See who they are after the jump...
Unlike Akimbo records, where there-bassist Jon Weisnewski hurls snarling low-end against Aaron Walters' untamed guitar in an awesome, yet often dissonant display of aggression, Sandrider finds Weisnewski (who's moved over to the guitar) coming together more often harmoniously with bassist Jesse Roberts (of Ruby Doe) to form a monumental wall of sound. It's more pure electric volume than crunchy distortion-thrash, which is the root of their appeal: it's like somebody fired up a smooth-running, yet monstrous twelve-cylinder muscle car and sent it barreling down the freeway (or mythical dune-field) at punishing speeds. It's also worth mentioning that drummer Nat Damm (who also pounds the kit for Akimbo) is a badass in whichever arrangement he finds himself in. Sandrider currently lays claim to the loudest record--and live show--bar none in the city, and the result in both cases is pretty incredible.
Metal Chocolates Metal Chocolates
Metal Chocolates is an audio treat as tasty as the custom-wrapped chocolates packaged within the band's cassette gift-box that was--for a time--the only way to hear their music. The unorthodox presentation of their album belies its complex, dopamine-drenched sounds and floating, free-form vocal tracks, both of which are in the same trippy ballpark as Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction. Producer/vocalist OC Notes repeatedly amazes with his impressionistic solo records that magically appear on his Bandcamp page every couple of months, and there are few local hip-hop records that are on the level of MC Rik Rude's collaborative (with P Smoov) Fresh Espresso album Glamour, but this Notes/Rude joint(ed) venture explores a more mind-expanding realm that is surprisingly great, even for artists of this calibre.