Songs for Snakes - Charcoal Heather (2012) - A brief overview
Since we rang in the new year, I've dedicated text to no less than four Bay Area-area bands: Wire Train, The Sonnets, Marshal Fields, and theYanks. Problem with all of the aforementioned is that they've long been defunct, and a distant memory at best for the handful of you who were familiar with them beforehand. Tonight, I thought I'd introduce you to a new San Francisco treat that came on my radar just two weeks ago, Songs for Snakes. It's hard to deny that this trio were profoundly informed by another punk threesome from the same neck of the woods, that being Jawbreaker, particularly Bivouac and 24 Hour Revenge Therapy era. SFS offer a breathless thrust that's nearly as invigorating as Schwartzenbach and Co., but the dozen-song Charcoal Heather comes barreling ashore on a Husker/Sugar-inspired wave to boot, delivering ample hooks to fortify all that musculature. Prime mover Bill Taylor bears a timbre that agilely fuses the raspy vocal presence of Leatherface's Frankie Stubbs with Richard Butler. An unlikely pairing perhaps, but it furnishes such rough-n-tumble, yet still hummable selections like "St. Mary," "America's Shiniest Objects" and "Thorazine Eyes" perfectly. Charcoal Heather is a cathartic blast, that's thankfully not from the past, but the here and now. It's available on a name-your-price basis from Bandcamp (where it can be streamed in it's entirety) and CD.