Posts Tagged ‘Goatsnake’

Southern Lord – 3rd December 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

I’ve been a little slow getting around to this one, but since the band’s taken more than twenty-five years to do so, I don’t feel quite so bad.

Way, way back, before Sunn O))), before Goatsnake, before Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine (another band referencing Dylan Carlson’s mighty drone-progenitors Earth), before the advent of the Southern Lord label, Greg Anderson made noise with early 90s Seattle-based post-hardcore act Engine Kid, who signed off in 1995 with the Troubleman Unlimited EP, after undergoing countless lineup changes and recording their album Bear Catching Fish album with Steve Albini. Their short but prolific career was recently re-released as a six-album box set.

But I guess sometimes there are itches you just have to scratch, and this is clearly one such instance, with the band reconvening to revisit and rework old songs they never recorded or releases.

A lot has changed in a quarter of a century, and the title is a fair indicator. This isn’t a criticism, and as the accompanying text explains, the ‘cover art is a symbolic metaphor about living one’s best life, and with extravagant swagger. The songs themselves continue the band’s “take on the world” attitude with restless, wild energy’. This is a short blast of a release that’s about empowerment, not dissing the disabled, and it’s a reminder of simpler times, perhaps, when ‘special’ was ok. But ultimately, we’re all special, right?

The songs contained herein – several of which have already been shared here on Aural Aggravation – are blistering blasts of guitar-driven noise: fifty-nine second opener ‘Burban on Blades’ a piledriving blast of warped riffage that’s more akin to Melvins than anything else, and paves the way for the thunderous title track. The drums pound as devastating detonations, while the bass blasts at your lungs and the guitars grind with a gut-churning afterburn. It’s brutal and then some, and ‘The Abattoir’, a mere minute and fifteen in duration, is savage. One thing is clear, and that’s during their absence, they’ve not mellowed, and that they’ve not polished or prettied these songs up with a more technical performance or cleaner production is very much a good thing.

‘Patty : Tania’ (not on the flexidisc edition) marks a massive shift to round off the EP: it sounds like another band entirely, with chiming guitars weaving a dark, late-night, backstreet atmosphere that has somewhat gothic overtones, and these provide the backdrop to a lengthy sampled spoken word intro before, finally, at just shy of three and a half minutes in, the levee breaks and the guitars crash in. That kind of dynamic never gets tired, and here it shows that Engine Kid are more complex, more nuanced, and more versatile, than may initially appear.

This is a storming EP in its own right, and will likely not only elate existing fans, but introduce the band to a whole new set of listeners.

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Almost 30 years since their inception, the members of Engine Kid got together in 2021 to hang out and record new music. The result of which arrived by way of the Special Olympics EP flexi-disc/digital EP, released last December on Southern Lord.

The band has shared a music video for the EP’s second single, ‘Patty : Tania’ alongside a Q&A with Engine Kid’s Greg Anderson.

Watch the video here:

The tracks on the Special Olympics EP are re-workings of old material which were never recorded. The music represents the sonic direction that Engine Kid were heading before they disbanded. With this EP, the band commemorates the joy of playing music together for the first time in 26 years, and pick up where they left off. As Jade Devitt comments, "The musical commitment and connection that we forged in the 90’s has held like a magnet, finally pulling us together after 26 years! The newly recorded songs were dusted off blueprints from our very last practice tapes from the summer of ’95. Now enhanced with experience & age and new arrangements. The Kid flies again."

Earlier this year, the 90’s post-hardcore collective featuring Greg Anderson (Southern Lord label owner, also in Sunn O))), Goatsnake & Thorr’s Hammer) released a 6-LP box set of their career-spanning recordings on colour vinyl LP’s for the first time titled Everything Left Inside (find out more about that here) Engine Kid’s Brian Kraft adds, "Greg, Jade and I spent the summer and fall of 2020 gathering old photos, flyers, artwork and audio rehearsals /remixes/remasters for the Everything Left Inside box set. This remote reunion of the Kid made me realize how important Greg, Jade and Engine Kid was and is in my life. The reconnection led to recording some new material. It felt as if we were continuing right where we left off.”

Engine Kid’s first new material since 1995, the Special Olympics EP’s cover art is a symbolic metaphor about living one’s best life, and with extravagant swagger. The songs themselves continue the band’s “take on the world” attitude with restless, wild energy.

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Photo Credit: Vaga Bond

Engine Kid, the 90s post hardcore collective featuring Greg Anderson (Southern Lord label owner, also in Sunn O))), Goatsnake & Thorr’s Hammer) share the previously unreleased track "Angel Dust" appearing on their special Record Store Day 6 x LP boxed set release Everything Left Inside

About this track Greg Anderson comments, "during the process of unearthing Angel Wings master tapes a previously unreleased/unheard track from the session was discovered.  Our recollections of this song were extremely foggy and the reason it was left off the full-length album remains a mystery! Vitality was injected into the track by wizard producer Brad Wood."

The boxed set includes other unreleased/unheard recordings as well as hard to find/sought after albums including the “Novocaine/Astronaut” 12”, Bear Catching Fish 2xLP, Angel Wings 2xLP and Split w/ Iceburn / Everything Left Inside 12” – all remastered and with an extensive 12-page booklet.  A black vinyl version of the box is set for RSD on June 12th (not available outside the US) with additional versions of the record for the rest of the world to arrive at a later date TBC. Digital for the time being available via bandcamp:

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This White Light is the name of a new band featuring Greg Anderson/ guitar (Sunn O))), Goatsnake) and Jade Devitt/drums (Lucky Me, Gale Forces), Bryan Herweg/bass (Pelican) and vocals from Jen Wood (solo artist and formerly of Tattle Tale and collaborator with the Postal Service).

The four-piece have been working on material and plan to record on April 9th to the 13th at Josh Hommes’ Pink Duck studios, with him producing the recordings. Meanwhile, we can hear one of the demo tracks, ‘Winter Flowers’, here:

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