There’s records you have been waiting for since the day their release date was announced. And then there’s records you just stumble on. They happen to cross your path while you flip through some letter or the new arrivals. And then there’s records that give you the feeling like, after all those years, you met a friend again. Not a close one, but someone you always liked when he or she was around. Back in the days. Those memories feel good, even today. And the two records I bought last weekend represent all those things.
Horace Pinker “Local State Inertia” LP
Where had those guys been hiding all those years? Or rather, what was I doing all that time? Here’s the deal. Some time in the 1990s the label of the fanzine I was writing for at the time released a 7″ by an american band nobody had ever heard of. Yeah, they were said to be some kind of mixture between Jawbreaker, Dag Nasty and or local heroes Quest For Rescue, but well, you know what it’s like with those references. Still, when I heard the record (DIY Polemic Machine 7″) for the first time, I was blown away. They did a cover of “One To Two” by Dag Nasty and that version was nasty. I was even more thrilled when I heard the guys were coming on tour. And friend and I saw them in Cologne’s Between club and decided to drive to their next show in Bochum where we hung out with the guys. At that point their drummer was a guy called Bill Ramsey, which is a funny thing to Germans, cause in the 1960s an ex-G.I. turned pop singer was very popular over here (He’s a pretty good Jazz singer nowadays, by the way). That guy had the same name. Just to give you an impression, here’s a video:
Well, Horace Pinker are of a different breed. Back then they had just released a full length (“Burn the temple to the ground” LP) and, what was even more important, their bassist was former Jawbreaker member Chris Bauermeister. Cool stuff. Still somehow I lost track of them … until I came across this record while flipping through the new arrivals at the record store. Oh boy, what flashbacks. The voice still sounds the same. Maybe a bit older, but clearly. The songs sound like the same guys wrote them, maybe a bit less tempo, but still great punkrock. Gotta love it. And just to top it off, the record itself is a blast. It comes with a huge poster and a CD. The songs on the CD don’t matter, it’s just the usual digital version you get these days when you buy vinyl. But the concept of the layout is brilliant. I don’t know how they did it, but the edged lines on one side of it and made it look like a 5″ record. Great idea.
So, please, if you are into mid 1990s indie punkrock with a message, do yourselves a favour and buy this record.
John K. Samson “Provincial” LP
I really had been waiting for this one to arrive at the store. As long as I can remember I have always been a fan of the stuff John does. I did an interview wiith him back in 1996 when he was still with Propaghandi. I interviewed him again in 1998 when he cam to Germany with The Weakerthans for the first time. Ever since that time I got to meet him now and then. And every time he has been the same nice and kind man, who will always smile at you and give you the feeling he’s at peace with himself and the rest of the world. Although you can tell by listeing to his songs, that he has a lot of things he’s not happy with. Still I think only John can come up with a song like “www.ipetitions.com/petitionrivertonrifle”. Unfortunalety the site is down. Anyway, using Canada’s national sport to turn the listener’s attention to what he wants to say is, well, unique, in a way.
Of course this record is no different from what he’s doing with The Weakerthans or what he did on “Slips & Tangles” in 1995. But because it is no different, it is great. Here’s a true poet, capabale of putting what he sees into words. His wonderful descroptions of small scenes from our everyday lives are simply beautiful. And the way he wraps those lyrics in beautiful music is flat out breathtaking at some points.Is it really “provincial”? Hell yes, and that’s why it’s so great.
A few of the songs on this record have already been released on 7″ EPs a few years ago, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting your copy. Oh man, I am sure looking forward to John playing in Cologne in May. This one should be a blast. This record is a must have!