Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pull in to this Station

I'm beginning to think I need to come up with some sort of ass related music measurement system. Now I don't mean that I'm going to start awarding albums one to five of these anytime soon. It's just that in reflecting on some of the artists I've spotlighted so far here, the music has had a literal or figurative effect on my ass. Woodhands for instance, actually moved it and got me dancing. And way back when, Arrows and Black Mountain rocked it and got me motivated to start writing.

Now along comes Chicago band Russian Circles, with a record that has a new effect on my ass - it absolutely slays it. Station is a gargantuan record with layers of guitar that alternate between eerily atmospheric, ringingly melodic and fiercely charged - Mike Sullivan wrings every possible note and emotion out of his instrument. Drummer Dave Turncrantz sometimes has to resort to bashing out a rhythm to be heard amidst the squall Sullivan whips up, but when things quiet down you can hear that he has a deft touch with the sticks.

Russian Circles are ostensibly a duo after the loss of bassist Colin DeKuiper following the release of their debut full-length Enter, but the record does feature some kick-ass (there's that word again!) bass work by guest Brian Cook (of These Arms Are Snakes and Botch), as well as Blood Brother Morgan Henderson on double-bass on "Xavii." Listening to "Harper Lewis" as I write this, I wonder just how the duo are able to translate this mammoth wall of sound they've recorded to a live show without at least adding a touring bassist to the roster.

Personally I come at Russian Circles' music from a post-rock angle and it was the melodic guitar that first caught my ear, reminding me a bit of Explosions In The Sky. But reading up on the band and having Station wash around between my ears for a little while, I can hear where fans of metal groups like Mastodon, or math-rock and prog listeners might find an angle to approach this record and enjoy it for their own reasons.

Vinyl collectors will also dig this band for the 12" release of Station which I've discovered is being released in three different 'colours': half gold / half black, all gold, or gold with black splatter. You can pre-order the vinyl here, and it comes out on May 15.

The CD meanwhile is being released by Suicide Squeeze (the label of Minus The Bear among others) and pre-orders ship on May 1. For that, visit the Suicide Squeeze site.

I'll leave you with the track I was mentioning above; "Harper Lewis" but I strongly encourage you to listen to the album in its entirety.

And be sure to check out the Russian Circles' Myspace page and website.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

No comments: