Thursday, March 29, 2007

Review: Koji Kondo/Eat Avery's Bones Split 7-inch



The split 7 inch is that much celebrated format where two artists can either highlight their differences or smugly display their similarities, but in either case, it's ultimately a show of unity no matter how philosophically different the two bands might be. The line between similarity and difference is blurred with the new split 7 inch release by Eat Avery's Bones and Koji Kondo, two bands that sometimes share a taste for busy visual aesthetic and equally busy music, but also leave subtle clues along the way that provide occasional insight into the motives behind their two willfully obscure sounds.

First of all, it's remarkable that bands still release vinyl. It's seen as a novelty by some but considered timeless and sacred by many, and no amount of gimmicky special edition Insound-only releases will ever change that for the diehards. I wonder if the shitty split Myspace Standalone player format can ever truly replace the split 7 inch as a cultural icon. My guess is that it cannot. Listening to this 7 inch on a turntable blasting through two huge analog towers instantly made me realize what you're missing when you're rocking an unintentionally distorted little file pushing through monitor speakers. I've accepted the pendulum swing of New Media and technology as they slice through the ghost of the 20th century, but I don't think the vinyl experience will ever be properly recreated or replaced. I'm sorry, but I just don't like to get down to a cell phone. The depth and dimension of music on vinyl can fill an entire room rather than settling for what usually feels more like the sound of a meek and thin advertisement clip obnoxiously being spat at you from a computer screen.

Eat Avery's Bones visually display their most telling difference with Koji Kondo by being the band in the 7 inch insert with smiles on their faces, a rather fitting pose for a group that has such a playful attitude towards everything they do. From their impossibly colorful flier art to their neon merchandise, ridiculous live antics and jittery song structures, the group has one of the most self assured senses of identity that I've ever encountered in a local group. The obvious insecurity and awkwardness that young bands often exhibit in their stage presence and general presentation is largely missing from Eat Avery's Bones, and the result is quite refreshing. Their half of the record is a perfect three song sliver of the E.A.B. sound. "Nice Ice" starts off with tentacled guitar parts crawling over a menacingly simple keyboard pattern that becomes as progressively complex as the main lick before they both begin to mock each other to climactic effect. The singing on the 7 inch is a showcase for lead singer Matt's high pitched vocal frequency, and the band somehow manages to sound even more piercing on a recording than they do live. This might be partly due to the fact that when playing live, they tend to use a telephone in lieu of a mic, or maybe its because they often have someone dressed in a wizard costume as opposed to, say, having a mic stand. This causes the vocals to be heard only part of the time in many cases, and hearing the band in such shrill clarity on this record was a good reminder that they have never had any desire to be subtle or easily digestible, though the catchiness of their memorable backing tracks will sometimes cause you to forget that. There is a purposely immature and irreverent humor that runs through their songs, and though I've heard that "Nice Ice" is possibly about meth, it's anyone's guess as to what "Vowel Sounds" or "Dike Hike" is about. Something tells me they don't care whether or not you ever figure it out.

Koji Kondo is not smiling on their half of the insert and that is no accident, a fact only reinforced by what you hear when you flip the record to their side: a brief earful of power chord distorto-sludge coupled with a screaming intro. This is intro is somewhat misleading, however, and "Bee Vomit" is a more proper example of the band's main strengths: unique semi-clean guitar splatter with a very direct singer who sounds like he's reading from an angry journal he keeps while slugging it out at some miserable day-job. I can't overstate how startlingly great Koji Kondo's guitar parts can be, by the way. I'm sometimes reminded of the extreme technical prowess of Upsilon Acrux, the avant-guitar originators in The Magic Band, or Deerhoof side project Natural Dreamers. This is high praise considering all three groups I just mentioned will make you rethink the possibilities of guitar based music. The experimental aspects of Koji Kondo's music are usually reeled in by a dedication to hardcore rhythms that break through with stampeding intensity, and the lyrics are literate without showing off, offering poignant little shards of pessimistic observation like "evading terminal diagnosis/if it doesn't kill you/it'll be with you 'til something does". Reassuring. It's little moments like these that will have you reaching for the lyric insert over and over, which is quite a rare thing in the North Texas music scene.

Koji Kondo features two thirds of The Blonde Girls, who's 7 inch we praised here last year. Koji is decidedly less experimental than The Blonde Girls, and that's a plus or a minus depending on your take on music. Whereas Blonde Girls had long instrumental parts and often performed without microphones, Koji Kondo wants every word and note to sink in as a whole, and it shows. As much as I enjoyed The Blonde Girls, I think Koji Kondo is an improvement on some of the concepts of that band, serving as a good example of how mixing a healthy amount of traditionalism with more outlandish approaches can make for a rewarding listening experience that might please gutter punk and turtle-necked indie nerd alike.

Speaking of that divide, I was told that Good Records doesn't usually carry local 7 inches, but that they did so with this one because they "liked the art". How big of them to designate what will probably amount to less than a square foot of store space, huh? I hate to criticize a brick and mortar record store in these tough times, but their dismissive attitude towards projects like this has bothered me for most of a decade. I want them to survive even if I don't agree with them, but they should hope that the last shouted lines of the Koji Kondo side of this record don't read like a prophecy: "We'll do it ourselves and put this asshole out of work".

47 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't know where you got this false info. we gladly carry every local release that we're asked to...in all formats.-cjd

8:44 AM  
Blogger elbud said...

good stuff. I've played with koji kondo many times and it's always a treat to hear Adam play guitar live.
-Sam

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't worry CJ, defensive listening just has sand in her vag.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

The statements are based on several experiences, going back to before CJ even worked there. I stand by my statements.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Offensive listening must be in a crappy band Good Records didnt want to carry

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

of course you do, DL. you've always got to have the last word.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

Not true.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Zine-O-Phonic said...

I'm a big fan of the fact that vinyl pressings are starting to come with the ability to download legal high quality Mp3s.

As far as I am concerned, if I bought it on vinyl, I don't have any problem downloading it illegally anyways, but I think it's a smart step for new releases.

Wilco is even offering a copy of the cd if you pre-order the new album on vinyl.

One of my favorite split 7"s was screeching weasel/born against. The concept was that they exchanged lyrics, but would perform the song in their own way. The screeching weasel tracks are forgettable, but the born against songs were great. Specifically the song Janelle, which I'll post on my blog tonight, when I get home.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you please start putting the ending punctuation inside the quotations? I thought I taught you better than that.
"Thanks."


-Defensive Listening's 6th grade Language Arts teacher.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

Damn. Sorry. God, I hated Ms. Turner.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, if CJ comes on here and says it's not true, then it's not true. Are you serious, DL? You still stand by your scene gossip when the dude himself is telling you it's not true?

11:21 AM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

alright, lets just tell them who you really are, DL.

Defensive Listening is actually Tim Delaughter's older brother Jim Delaughter. For most of their lives, Tim and Jim got along pretty well, and for a brief time, Jim even served as Tripping Daisy's road manager.

However, the two brothers' relationship became a bit rocky in March of 1997, when Tim's Good Records store refused to carry the debut single by Jim's band Mystic of the Mountaintop. The single, which was a funky 9 1/2 minute jamband style cover of Coolio's "Rollin with the Homies," was considered a masterwork by many in the jam band community, including Trey Anastacio, who called it "an audio gift from god." However, Tim just didn't believe that his brother had what it took to survive in alternative rock, and since then, Jim has made it his life's work to bring Good Records down at all costs.

Its the sole reason he started writing for this blog, and I'm sorry to everyone that we have mislead.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Zak said...

cool, I'll have to pick this up. I like reviews that describe the music and compare it well to other things enough to make me want to hear the music.

I don't think anything can ever replace the 7-inch single or vinyl as a format. I could see the cd disapearing, but not vinyl. It's tough for me to see any type of digital release that can have the same kind of impact for people, though I do think that these kinds of singles should be offered up in a digital format as well. Either for free with the purchase of the vinyl,which is more and more common, or you can pay for the ep as a download only.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Zak said...

hah, I didn't refresh before I posted. Zine-O basically made the same point I did.

that should be DL's official bio from now on.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you DL- Don't listen to these chodes. Good review. I look forward to the next one.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you even read your own blog? The last Good Records chart posted has a local 7 inch in the number one spot. Better do some research next time (see: scrolling down.)

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'd be pissed if i was either of these bands and saw that they talked about vinyl/myspace (a non-existent argument... we're so glad you're wowed by the fact that people still release vinyl!)
and what they sound like live instead of what the songs actually sound like. At least more than i don't know what he's talking about and i never will or telling them that the bands we think they sound like are obscure, but don't worry, you should take it as a compliment because we're the arbiters of cool. the rant at the end about good records is just icing on the cake. why not just say you can get it at good records? you're a cunt.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 1:38

i looked at the list , wich one was the local 7", i wasnt familiar with there name i guess , i only recognized a few of the national bands.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Voot Cha Index - The Talking House/Cradle 7"

maybe DL should buy a copy at Good and give it a review.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous mc said...

Out of curiosity, where can one pick up this 7-inch? And isn't mailing those things out a pain ....

By the by, I saw Upsilon Acrux play a 10-minute set to me and two other people at SXSW a few years ago.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, so the local that you could conjour up (Voot Cha Index) was actually put out by CJ and Good Records.

yeah, that counts.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm gonna bitch about how good records doesn't support local musicians by selling the 7"s in the store and then when confronted with the opposite, bitch about how good records supports local music so much that they put out the 7"s themselves. whassamatter? CJ not like your band?

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to me nothing can replace a live show with the some attention to fundemental acoustic rules.

-sinevil

2:35 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

"Um, if CJ comes on here and says it's not true, then it's not true. Are you serious, DL? You still stand by your scene gossip when the dude himself is telling you it's not true?"

Maybe CJ isn't the one who told a member of the band that they don't usually do this but they would in this case because they liked the artwork. I'm sorry, but this is a true story. Simply because CJ comes on here and explains the store policy, which I do appreciate, doesn't mean it didn't happen. An employee did at the very least, give this impression to the band who recounted this briefly to me. And it supports experiences I've seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears about the screening process for local material at Good Records. This isn't sensationalism. If Good Records doesn't want to put across this image to people, then the first words out of an employee's mouth when dealing with consignment consideration with a local band shouldn't be something suggesting that this isn't what they normally do or engage in. That was the impression they gave a member of the band and have given other people, including myself who has witnessed these exchanges. They do carry some local stuff in various formats but it goes through a screening process first. CD World does the same thing. Waterloo Records doesn't. Do you think having such an open policy has hurt business at Waterloo Records? The employee who handled this situation might have been referring to the fact that they don't just take things unsolicited off the street. I just think it's a somewhat self-important stance they take and that they should probably have been more liberal in the past 7 years regarding what they carry. The store has been known far and wide for having a somewhat narrow scope compared to other stores in Texas. No big deal, many record stores have a bias slanted towards the owner's taste. It's their business and they can carry what they want or not carry what they don't want. Fine. I just don't know how healthy it's been for local music that the store is more likely to just carry things that sound like High Llamas or whatever the fuck when that isn't necessarily what defines music in DFW. Many bands don't even try to deal with them because they just figure that Good Records will most likely not be sympathetic to their intentions as a band or their style of music. That assumption is based on many things and I don't blame any band for holding that opinion. I will say that I think the store has improved since their move to Greenville ave. and I think their stock has improved as well. But when I think of a place like say, End Of An Ear in Austin, I just think it's never reached it's potential and I don't think it wants to. I still spend money there, though.

PS-Sorry to just use Austin stores as examples, but there aren't many to choose from around here.

2:40 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

I have practically no knowledge of the store's policy in regards to local music, so I can't comment on that. I know I haven't seen much local music there, but to tell you the truth I really haven't been in there to look for it too often, so I really don't have an opinion.

However, I will agree that since the store has moved to Greenville, i've noticed quite an improvement in their selection. I was just in there the other day for the first time in several months, and I noticed a lot of fairly obscure, high quality albums on the shelves that I'm pretty sure weren't there several months ago. They don't have EVERYTHING you could possibly ever want, and I do agree that they could carry a more diverse inventory, but they've got a pretty decent amount of good stuff.

But the reason I would shop there before, say, CD World, is because the people that work there are actually nice. Has anyone ever been to Other Music in New York? Well have you seen that Youtube spoof of the place? If so, you don't need to go because thats pretty much how it really is there. The employees are dicks. I've also had similar bad experiences at places like CD world here in Dallas and at Waterloo in Austin... employees that have actually convinced themselves that they are cool as fuck because they work at a record store.

I have yet to see any sign of this at good records, and any time you want to talk about pretty much any band you can think of, CJ is always willing and able to share a lot of information with you. To me, those interactions are the main selling points for Good Records.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey so, on a lighter note, here is the lineup tonight at Darkside Lounge
Medicine Fuck Dream
Strange Boys
Tame...Tame and Quiet

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"employees that have actually convinced themselves that they are cool as fuck because they work at a record store."

I hate that mentality. It seems to have pervaded the blog world as well.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've always found quite a bit of local music at good records. and it seems that most of the music you talk about on this blog is pretty well represented at their store.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Justin said...

I don't know where people are getting their info. I worked at Good Records. The store is stocked with local music cds, vinyl, and even independent film. Most all of them are consignment. I can say the policy not more than a year ago was you bring it, we'll sell it. The employees don't have time to track down local bands and ask to sell their cd in the store. When someone would come in and ask me for a band's cd that we don't carry, I'd recommend next time he saw them live to bring it in to us. If its a band we like a lot, we usually ask for a promo copy so we can place it on listening posts or to play over the PA in the store. If a local cd is not there its because no one brought it to Good Records to sell. So bring us your new CD. Ask to have a cd release instore, they probably won't say no. You'll find the employees, at least all of the old guard still working there, are a really nice bunch of guys who really really really love music and can't wait to talk about it with whoever walks in the door.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Justin said...

I didn't really mean to use posessives like we and us in my post, since I don't work there anymore, but I still adore that place, and a part of me will always be a Good Records friend/employee.

3:48 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

awesome. If that is the current policy, then I hope the local rockers reading this website take advantage of it. Of course, that doesn't mean that the policy you describe has always been in place, but its good to know that the store is open to local releases.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ raped me for trying to buy an Unwound record.

4:06 PM  
Blogger fuzzbuzz said...

All this about Good Records is news to me. Even way back in '98(99?) they carried my band Swivels little nothing cd release and just recently asked me to bring in our local Lollipop Shoppe comps featuring all those local bands. Seems they're doing good work.
:)

4:51 PM  
Anonymous hipster #2 said...

OBSCURITY
RULZ
MY
BALZ

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where's the youtube spoof of other music?

5:57 PM  
Anonymous -|zs|- said...

Good recently acquisced to carry the Zanzibar Snails "Introdewcing" CDr, and requested a store copy. I was pleasantly surprised, and plans are afoot to bring some in (in case Chris is reading this).

Of course, we are pessimistic that anybody in Dallas would buy it, but this may be overly irrational.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, yeah. I'm sorry I ever argued about anything on here. So...anyways......I think Eat Avery's Bones completely rule! I think it's very nice that you pointed out how cool those kids are on top of making super fun rock and roll! Good people in good bands need GOOD support. Thanks We Shot J.R.! Can't wait to get me a copy!

-Kyle Nite

8:37 PM  
Blogger R. Javelinn said...

For years my band, La Goons has sold our shitty little records on consignment at Good, and not just to CJ, but to several others.

I am fairly certain they consider us a novelty at best, but have always been nothing but ultra-nice, courteous and respectful.

In fact, after one such pleasant exchange, CJ took me in the back of the store, rolled a Snickers bar up in a tortilla, and smoked it with me right then and there...even after I told him why I thought Tim
Delaughter should be publicly executed at the guillotine.

Anyway, I hope nobody felt any real emotion over this tiff...it's pretty silly...but I suppose that's why this blog entertains me so. DL should just double check facts before slagging someone, though that was a great review of two bands that deserve some attention.

Oh shit! A moustachioed baby just hovered past my window in a sombrero!

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're all doing a HUGE disservice to Eat Avery's Bones and Koji Kondo by fighting over this "Good Records is in the wrong" bullshit. Grow the fuck up. Nice Ice by Eat Avery's Bones is a great song...i'm glad they chose to put that on the record. I can't wait to hear it on vinyl! Way to go Meggie and Matt....i've always wanted to have a 7". That's so cool!

-Kyle

1:51 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

If it doesn't have a good selection of metal, then i don't give a fuck. I'd rather shop at Hastings, at least there I can pick up the new Amon Amarth album.

Also, I still have the Jackson 8 7" I got at GR a few years back. I think it still has the price sticker on it.

I want to make a 7"


EMOTICONZZZZZ

2:09 AM  
Blogger URN said...

Damn, that is good artwork, though.

And not saying Good Records does business in this manner, because I don't know, or that it's right one way or another, but honestly, what's the problem with being selective about what you carry? I don't think it's anyone's inherent artistic right to have their product marketed by a retailer simply because it's produced near said retailer and because said retailer happens to be one of the only decent record stores in town.

I've been handed a thousand copies of various demo albums by some random person just wanting to promote whatever it is they think they have, that I'd never spin a number of times, or want to promote in any facet. It's noble that they took the effort to do the leg work and hand it to me, but I, in no way, feel obligated to pass on what I subjectively deem as trash to the rest of the world. And I, therefore, feel no remorse as the demo CD freefalls out of my car window, hopefully to be shattered, but at least to be unreadably scratched up.

Any band that deeply gives a damn whether Good Records carries their album or 7" or not either hasn't mastered their Pitchfork music template vocabulary and is just terribly mediocre, or is possibly too good, or at least beyond your surroundings, to even need to be concerned with local record sales. You'll later live in some type of infamy, or die in obscurity. Either way, depending on which way you lean, you'll feel vastly underappreciated or secure enough with what you've produced to not give a shit.

4:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i bought the 7" at good records yesterday.

its damn fine.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

urn

are you a dj?

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You'll later live in some type of infamy, or die in obscurity. Either way, depending on which way you lean, you'll feel vastly underappreciated or secure enough with what you've produced to not give a shit."

Amen.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What started the Good argument was an assumption of official policy based on what one employee may or may not have said while DL was eavesdropping. The smart thing to do would have been to call Good and ask about the policy, so that at least they could comment on the alleged occurrences of snobbery. It's just the responsible thing to do if you are reporting. But I don't really care that DL wasn't completely thorough this time around, because it produced substantial comment debatery, instead of the normal "I was raped at House of TInnitus by Farah" bullshit.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk more about Eat Avery's Bones and Koji Kondo and the split 7" they just put out. Let's write this next time: "Eat Avery's Bones and Koji Kondo just put out a split 7" and I think it's really good and I think you might like it as well, so buy one!" Sounds good to me. Quit arguing. It makes all of you look really childish. I think it's wonderful that bands are still making records....I can't wait to put out a 7" or full length someday. Way to go guys! Vinyl's where it's at!

Kyle

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was raped at House of TInnitus by Farah

8:22 PM  

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