Friday, December 3, 2010
Garden Variety - Knocking the Skill Level (1994, Headhunter/Cargo)
On Knocking.., the boys cut a cathartic, amped-out swath through anguished, distortion-ridden landscapes, touching upon any raw, exposed nerves in their restless path. Bear in mind, nothing on this disk come close to approaching something as disgraceful as say, "scream-o," but to this day I'm still stupefied that a power trio who easily approximated the sound of a lineup twice that size could stir up such an unholy raucous. Yes, the lyrics are oblique and somewhat unintelligible, but the sentiments raised on these songs alone were far more advanced than the work of their peers, not to mention the finely executed song arrangements. Knocking the Skill Level must be experienced to be believed, and luckily, now you can. Anthony Roman would go onto far greater renown in Radio 4, who were something of an update on Gang of Four's funk-informed post-punk, and Joe Gorelick would man the drum kit for Retisonic, who also featured ex-Bluetip frontman Jason Farrell.
If it's more Garden Variety you crave, I'm happy to point you at To Live and Die on Long Island blog, who have made available a band-curated collection of outtakes and rarities, but be forewarned, it's designed for the devoutly faithful only.
01. In All Respects
04. Soft on the Name
06. Chatroom Walkout
07. Room 183
08. Nine Behind You
11. Captain (cleverly titled "Tennille" on vinyl)