Archive for the ‘Calvary’ Category

I went to Adelaide to record and play a show and reconnect with people who mean a bunch to me and others who could potentially, so that’s where i’ve been. It kinda stinks to be back home, but that’s expected.
Thursday: The boys – Girls’ Generation

Friday: Sorry Again – Velocity Girl

Saturday: Nauseous – Koro

Sunday: Order no. 270 – Calvary

Monday: Tripping wires – Velocity Girl

Tuesday: Do you love coffee? – Braid

I like how it begins with SNSD and then returns to things i shouldn’t be ashamed of. Less ashamed of. How i am when left alone vs. how i am when i’m with people. The correcting of company. Good company. Thank you, everyone.

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Writhe – Calvary

I was introduced to Calvary (and learned how to spell “calvary.” I thought “cavalry”) through a person (though distant) whose opinion on such things i value probably more than anyone else; he himself receiving it from a similar above. Except he didn’t tell us about the band until a few years after. I received it kernelled as Rites of Spring meets Wire. As prosaic as that sounds and disappointing as it should be, holy hell that’s exactly it. So perfect a description. Perfectly exciting, perfectly delivered. So much so that i’m going to commit heresy and say it is better than anything Wire or anything out of that Revolution Summer ever produced. Working on something, working beyond something.

I feel weird about this, but i just read it again and it does a lot better job of selling this record and its effect than i ever could so i’d like to reprint it. Ape on it. It is an entry on Outnumbered Is Outflanked from his old blog. It’d be nice to have something well-written and knows what it’s talking about on here for a change.

this shit is so 2003 dude…


So after Mr Hyde and the Jeckyls called it quits the first time around (much to everyone’s relief), no sooner was Ross on a plane back to ol’ blighty than we were talking about doing another band. Now bear this in mind, like so many other atrocities undertaken in those heady days, it has to be understood in a specific context; IT WAS ANOTHER TIME: 2003. ‘Sassy’ was in and bands like the Red Light Sting were more than just a dust covered relic of the dollar bin. ‘Dance punk’ was not only ‘in’ but somehow considered viable and interesting. Oh the embarassing naivete of youth!

But yeah Dave, Pete and myself decided to embark on a mission to create music in a simillar vein to what Mr Hyde was doing, i.e low-brow and fun as fuck to drunkenly dance to. The soundtrack for a summer spent sweating on wooden benches at 101 while yr dinner from across the road at Feast On slowly congealed into a solid mass that would painfully induce colon blockage the next day. Or drunkenly kicking out cieling tiles at the Green Room while bar manager Al egged you on. Or sitting upstairs at Soak not watching any of the bands you paid to see because you couldn’t be arsed going down into that dank as shit basement. 2003 alright. We’ll all deny it but we were going for something totes cutting edge for that time, punk meets disco. Hell Pete was probably going for something more like that first Black Eyes LP but I do remember a drunken conversation (at Goo no less, 2003, lol, etc) about starting a ‘banging house’ band. Lewis from music swop shop joined on guitar. We were called Jam Clawed Vin Duude. We played one show with Black Level Embassy in Soak’s basement, then it died in the arse. Perhaps for the better. I still remember some of the basslines for that band and they wouldn’t sound out of place on the Rapture’s echoes. Hah remember when everyone said that album was amazing, power ballads and all (2003, lol, etc)?

Point is I got introduced to some amazing music in this time. Some of my fondest memories of 03/04 revolve around sitting in the tiny living room of Hyde’s old place off Lygon street, LPs strewn across the floor as he introduced me to amazing band after amazing band. In a situation that’s probably going to show up on this blog fairly often, Pete and I were doing a band, and he showed me like a zillion records in an attempt to point my music writing in a good direction. Hydro is one of the people that has influenced my music taste the most over the years and I’ve always been enriched for the experience.

Apart from the first Black Eyes LP, the other record that really jumped out at me over those evenings in Hyde’s living room (probably following dinner at vege orgasm, 2003, lol, etc) is Calvary’s outnumbered is outflanked.

At the time we were all talking about starting dance punk bands without trying to actually say the words ‘dance punk’, or mention Disco beats, or DFA bands, or anything like that. So vague ideas and throwbacks to post punk got tipped a lot, like Gang of Four and Wire. Look back on it now and all the Gang of Four ‘influenced’ bands sound more like an idea of what a Gang of Four song would sound like than anything they might’ve actually released. So when I was mumbling something about ‘you know, Gang of Four, Wire…’ to Pete he promptly turned around and put this record on. The drumming, he said, reminded him of Wire. The record wasn’t what I was expecting. Instead of 12 variations on the theme of ‘damaged goods’, I got this blast of mid 80s dischord style melodic hardcore. No shit, this sounded like a teenage Guy Piccioto singing, over music that I would’ve sworn (except for the fidelity) was recorded at inner ear.

Calvary took the best parts of that 80s revolution summer sound, compressed it all down, and absolutely nailed it. The Wire comparison is actually pretty apt. The drumming is kinda stilted, mechanical and jerky, whether that’s a deliberate undertaking in an attempt to evoke the ‘anti-rockist’ spirit of post punk bands that rejected the idea of a ‘feel’, or whether it’s simply because the dude couldn’t play very well, I don’t know. The thin bass and guitar tones owe a lot to early 80s post punk recordings as well. The\discordant open string blasts sound like something off Television’s first record, rather than the gibson guitars into marshall amps band they really were.

Yet there isn’t a single disco beat or reference to dancing on either side of this LP. Those mid 80s DC bands were influenced a crap tonne by english post punk (listen to Embrace and try and tell me that’s not true), and Calvary were like the next step on from that. If you drew a line through pink flag and end on end, then took it all the way through the 90s, outnumbered is outflanked would be at the end of it, alongside records by contemporaries like the Shivering and descendants like Bullets In. (But both those bands’ shit is still in print so I’m not uploading it).

The band did feature Matt Weeks (Current, Dearborn SS, council records, etc) and you can read about the band history on the council site, http://www.councilrecords.com/ I’m not really gonna bother with those details on this blog. Rather I’m gonna self-centeredly talk about what these records mean to me, because you know they’re records that uh, mean something to me. Yeah.

I think this was the first record I bought from the new Missing Link premises, which is a bit of pointless trivia for you. And I can say that from that day to this I reckon I’ve listened to this once a week. Hype can’t ever ruin this record for me, it’s perfect. Like I said, they nailed it. I mentioned above the ‘idea’ of what a song sounds like, like if you had to describe a band’s sound without mentioning specifics, or if you wanted to write a song that sounds like something they could’ve written? The guitar break in order no. 270 IS what Rites of Spring sound like to me. The instrument sounds on this record are incredible, and this record was the first step in me learning a ‘less gain is more’ approach to guitar tone. Listen to how fucking heavy according to these visions and dreams gets when the whole band plays in unison, even though their guitars are far from saturated with distortion. ‘Less is more’ is pretty apt for this whole record really. While other rocking, melodic hardcore bands might have a whole shitload going on, or rely a lot on guitar effects and tricks, this is all pretty straight up. Listen to the start and end of gala affair and relise that shit’s done with a delay pedal and two guitars, nothing else. Even shit that the desperately wanting to be trendy kid that I was at the time would’ve automatically said ‘what the fuck? fuck you, no way!’ and dismissed as completely dorky, like fucking surf guitar, makes this record. The arpeggios in it’s sport and melody through the very roots of words are fucking rad, some of my favourite moments on the whole record.

Lyrically the record takes a lot from the Rites of Spring side of things rather than say Embrace. More for want of than no more pain. It’s kinda vague, kinda maybe cryptic. And that’s served this record well for me because I find lines still jumping out at me five years after I got this thing and suddenly clicking and making sense.

As I said above, I can’t destroy this record with hype, it’s definitely a huge influence on me. It’s influenced the way I play guitar a tonne in the last few years. Ex Spectator have a song that goes down on our setlist as ‘calvary’. So many other bands that before I saw as seperate things, outside of influence and a little bit impenetrable, suddenly made sense to me. The connection between post punk and emo hardcore made sense to me and opened up a lot of older music, made me more receptive to shit that previously I’d dismissed as disco beat crap for hipsters.

Calvary also put out a 7″, the will of the way, and a demo. Some stuff is downloadable from the council site and the 7″ is still in print and worth yr eight bucks. Many people actually consider that their best record and while it’s technically more competent I guess, nothing tops this LP for me. Some records, many of the ones that I’ll write about on this blog, absolutely define a time and place and a part of my life when I listen to them. But outnumbered is outflanked is kinda timeless for me. Sure it’s located in that living room of Hyde’s where I got introduced to this record, but I flip this so often to this very day and it still remains fresh. I was just blasting this on the way home from work a few hours ago, yelling and gesticulating at other drivers; “it only LOOKS as if it hurts, but that’s exactly WHAT I WANT!”.



Calvary – ‘outnumbered is outflanked’, council records no. 20, 2002.

SIDE A – order no 270 / reluctance – insertion – regret / writhe / according to these visions and dreams / heart murmur / gala affair

SIDE B – 111 (outnumbered is outflanked) / it’s sport / revenant / torrential / worth a thousand dark words / the very roots of words
Posted by dase at 5:50 AM

Damn. How do you write?

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