Sea To Sky
Gold Stock (2011)
I was having a conversation with my fiancee about a friend’s recent joke regarding some sort of hip-hop meme floating around the Internet, based off a popular rap song from a few years ago. And the thing is, we both knew that this friend wasn’t just being ironic, but despite being into the same fields of independent punk and rock that we grew up in, had an abiding love of hip-hop music. The DIY nature and anti-establishment history in of itself is incredibly “punk rock” (for lack of a better way to describe that sort of background and ethos into a few simple words)
There’s a certain point in the musical lives of most people who listen to indie music like punk and hardcore where, for lack of a better term, you grow up. Not in a “I can’t believe I used to ever like/listen to/believe in all this shit” though, but more in a “Hey, there’s more out there musically!” you embrace the revolutionary and DIY aspects of more than just a bunch of stupid kids sitting around in spikes, bad hair, and leathers, listening to terribly dated British bands.
There’s an era of “indie rock” I really love, stretching roughly from the mid-1980’s into the 90’s, where post-hardcore, three-piece powerpop-influenced rock, and the early stages of emo and post-punk were king. It’s in this era that this sort of mentality really flourished, where Fugazi embraced jazz and Gang Of Four, where Jawbox began to play with drum patterns, Bob Mould said “fuck it” and started making music on his own his way (arguably better than Husker Du…that’s right, I said it!), and where Archers of Loaf and Samiam began to show this Midwestern classic rock ‘n roll roots. Melody and musical skill were no longer things to be ashamed of, and thank fucking god for that. Just because you know how to play the guitar and sing on-key doesn’t mean that the passion is gone or that you’ve automatically cut yourself off from radicalism, that you’re not longer a valid artistic outlet. If anything, it makes you more appealing as a mature and legitimate artist, able to accept that it’s OK to allow your influences to bleed through but not hinder yourself as a musician.
I mean, I still enjoy putting on thrash and hardcore and otherwise uber-simplistic one-two-three bands once in a while, but if you’re going to limit yourself to that because anything with an ounce of movement outside of narrow parameters is “selling out”…seriously, fuck you. What are you, like twelve? I got over that phase when I realised that “Close-Minded” by Vision wasn’t a song to be proud I related to.
There definitely has been a move towards that balance in music more and more these days, though it’s something often overshadowed by the disillusioned belief by “artsy” types who want to fuck the whole thing up by denying they ever listened to anything other than avant-guarde instrumental records and the Beach Boys growing up, which is why their “utterly unique” sound is basically shitty Beatles-esque melodies with techno overlays they stole from The Postal Service. There’s no passion there, no balance of ragged honesty alongside a willingness to have fun and maybe kick a little ass if it comes down to it, though in the end we’re all friends and do this out of love.
Canada’s Carpenter are all of that. Kick-ass guitar-driven music, a classic rock sensibility, and amazing melodies living side-by-side with sing-alongs, rough vocals, and an undeniable punk ethos that’s more honest than any wannabe Exploited-covering Oi band I’ve been forced to see live who spend half the set screaming “Fuck Bush!” and “meat is murder!” over and over.
Seriously…this is an amazing CD. It’s the spirit of that era I mentioned before while being able to stand entirely on its own. I can’t wait to hear more from this band. I know I make the Archers Of Loaf comparison a lot when it comes to bands like this, but come on…there are worst standards to be held to. From the rock to the country to the punk to the ragged whiskey voices that rise above the wannabe-rambling man post-bearded punk cliche…it’s all in here…
Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, right. Maturity without losing your sense of humor when it comes to music.
Carpenter are that in a nutshell. Go buy Sea To Sky. Don’t steal my copy though if you see me around town though, because I will fucking knife you to defend it. Knife you in the face.
I’m not joking.