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Who do they think they are with that bio? Nirvana? They’ll never own enough plaid! The Ramones with that promo shot in front of the former CBGB’s with is now ironically a high-end fashion shop? Like they’d never look that cool in leather. I would have to agree with Rolling Stone’s senior editor David Fricke though, when he stated “The Ramones were the normal guys everybody loved to love,” in which I could see some parallels and ok, maybe the guitar and bass have some similarities.
This cheeky trio, Fashion Week, featuring guitarist/vocalist Josh Lozano (Jarboe, Cobalt, Family), drummer Carl Eklof (Victory at Sea, Lidia Stone, Inswarm) and bassist Oscar Albis Rodriguez (A Great Big World, No Way, Nakatomi Plaza) set forth their noisy full-length debut Prêt-à-Porter (Solar Flare Records), following up their self-released Applicator and Coextinction Release 11 with Coextiction Recordings. Though the line-up has gone through some slight changes, it’s safe to say the mood and original style has remained intact, with the recording and mixing of Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Keelhaul) and mastering of Carl Saff (Pigs, Sofy Major) ellipsing every into an even greater epic cacophony.
The album starts off with ‘Fendi Bender’ who’s lead in brings me back to 90s noise rock bands like Unsane but with a lighter tone, reflective of an externally cleaner, safer New York, who’s underbelly remains just as thorny and problematic. Sly bursts of Lozano’s raging hardcore vocals, supercharge post-hardcore melody as the guitar trails resonates with every note. Their video for it is now streaming on Metal Injection, featuring Jesse Madre of Tiger Flowers if you want to check it out.
The third track on the album, ‘Meek is Meeznable’ pummels out catchy sludge riffs, the likes of Red Fang, scattered with raunchy distortion and melodic melodies. It’s as if Jawbox and Quicksand combined to form an amazingly chaotic yet progressive supergroup. After listening to the makings of this album about a year ago, my favourites continue to change, only proving Prêt-à-Porter continues to deliver with every listen.
‘Summer Line’ has a spacey, Failure inspired intro that makes it one of my favourites on the album, along with ‘Haute Topic’ who’s mysterious bass line I just can’t get enough of. For anyone who was a fan of 90s hardcore and noise rock, Fashion Week’s Prêt-à-Porter is a staple that should be added to your collection.
Save for the album title, Destination Unknown (Solar Flare Records), from the French Alternative Rock outfit Watertank, is a focused and honed full-length, featuring memorable riffs and emotive harmonies that resonate long after album’s end.
Destination Unknown is the nine-song follow-up to the Nantes-based band’s 2013 debut, Sleepwalk. Clocking in under forty minutes, Destination Unknown takes to typical Alt-Rock tenants with ease: melodic riffs, anchored by pummeling percussion, deliver the band’s brand of all-purpose “heavy” through down-turned guitars, pristine production quality, and thoughtful songwriting.
Opening track ‘Automatic Reset,’ introduces Watertank’s sonic signature in big refrains and assertive vocals, as second track, ‘Fever,’ plays as a Foo Fighters-style, chord-driven anthem. Favorite track, ‘Contrails,’ calls up post-90s riff Rock ala Verve Pipe or Jawbox, and Watertank is expert in mingling precision and fuzz for the era-reminiscent sound.
‘DCVR’ follows with heart-bending notes, and the ‘Last Lost Hope’ is the album’s most sentimental and melancholically sweet. Watertank conjures up considerate melodies on ‘Surrender,’ which truly reign and ring on ‘Doomed Drifters’ and ‘Scheme,’ which deepen in the songs’ overall soft skin.
Closing track, ‘Destination Unknown,’ quiets the album to a close, and reflects and rests upon the album’s steady, consistent hearth.
Destination Unknown soars in equal insouciance and solidity, and each track composes a harmonious sum that is overall enjoyable and moving.
Veteran Baltimore based heavy desert rock/doom unit Sixty Watt Shaman will be releasing their next full length release Tabula Rasa this winter via Ripple Music. The record will be tracked by J. Robbins of Jawbox at Magpie Cage Studio in Baltimore, MD next month.
The band has confirmed a string of upcoming shows.
May 29: The Opera House – Sheperdstown, WV (w/ Karma To Burn, RHIN)
May 30: Empire – Springfield, VA (King Giant CD Release Party w/ Foghound)
Jun 26: Club 611 (The Maryland Doom Fest) – Frederick, MD
J. Robbins has issued a brand new EP titled Abandoned Mansions via Bandcamp, with his Office of Future Plans bandmates, cellist Gordon Withers and keyboardist/backing vocalist Brooks Harlan. The EP features new acoustic arrangements of songs originally written for Jawbox, Burning Airlines and Office of Future Plans, along with a newly written track.
Watch a video of J. Robbins performing Jawbox’s “Savory” at the Lilypad in Cambridge, MA on October 7th below.
Robbins will be performing the following dates.
Nov 13: The Boot And Saddle – Philadelphia, PA
Nov 14: Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT
Nov 15: The Parlour – Providence, RI
Nov 16: Green Street Studios – Cambridge, MA
Nov 17: DC 9 – Washington D.C.
Nov 18: The Metro Gallery – Baltimore, MD
Nov 23: The Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
Here’s a pretty great live video of J and Gordon Withers playing Jawbox”s “Savory” at The Lilypad in Cambridge, MA on October 7, 2011: