"3 Bands, 3 Songs, 3 Bucks"
April comes in like a lion with the 19th installment of ITAV's long-running 3 band/3 song triple single project. We've been at this now since May 2011, and if the pace has relaxed a bit, the content has continued to evolve in creative ways as the series gains traction. For that, the many listeners, sharers, reviewers, and bloggers scattered far and wide deserve our gratitude!
We begin our three course meal with a track from New Jersey wild men Honah Lee, a succint punk blast shouted through a taxi dispatcher's mic. "The Accommodator" lays out the basic themes of Volume 19, one of finding, defining, rejecting, or respecting boundaries. In this case, singer Tim Hoh inspects the idea of changing oneself for a partner -- and tosses it out the window. We've all been there, and sooner or later it sinks in (usually later) that if you can't be yourself you're with the wrong person.
Lansing band Language, pared down for the moment to core member Christopher Minarik, takes a subtler approach with "Limits." The song is paced like merging freeway traffic, the lyrics hint at loss of boundaries with city as metaphor. A bass pulse underpins guitars that can be needle sharp or crumbling and decaying; it's not hard to see paved surfaces broken here and there with scrub grass in the mind's eye, the highway in the background. It's Language that is perhaps best caught in mid-frame for Volume 19's artwork, a sound that inhales and exhales and travels in a low-lit post-punk world.
Closing Volume 19 is a more personal -- almost surgical, but tempered by resignation rather than anger -- inspection of a relationship that could be in mid-splinter or it could be in the distant past, but which certainly seems to have imparted some hard lessons for all either way. These come across in the ragged howl of Decades singer/guitarist Matt Waterman over a crunchingly catchy song that musically bends and warps radio-friendly alternative rock into some novel new shapes. The implication seems to be that the relationship of note is in the past, and the further in the past it gets, the better and healthier Waterman feels, even if there's a aura of regret coloring this revisit of his history. Clocking in at almost twice the length of its forebears, "Piling It On" is an epic by comparison that largely stays away from metaphors and keeps it biographical.
We welcome spring along with you! Stay tuned for the next episode of the 3-Way Singles Club -- you can keep up to date at itavrecords.blogspot.com
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