Thursday, February 8, 2007

Honor Role

When I was in high school there were punk and hardcore bands(anything you could skate to) and then what I called "art room" rock. I managed to classify and ignore bands like Big Black and Sonic Youth thanks to this. Typical for a teenage idiot who thought Aggression and Suicidal Tendencies were the top tier of musical evolution.
But after a few years of watching amazing hardcore bands put out bad crossover albums(OU812 for instance), I was starting to want to hear different shit. There was also a wave of kids bored by NYHC and generic hardcore that were starting bands and doing zines. Reading Forced Exposure also kind of opened my eyes to how much other shit there was. Then I figured out that the art-room shit wasn't all bad, The problem was that some people's idea of cool weird shit was just band english post punk. Look at SST, Saccharine Trust and St. Vitus were cool for non-mosh music, but Tom T's Dog and Painted Wilie just sucked. Luckily lots of the late 80s early 90s records seemed to be in all the used record stores for cheap. So even if you got burned it wasn't for much money. Honor Role where one of these not quite hardcore, kind of cryptic bands that people would refer to as "weird" or "fucked but cool". A band you heard about but never heard. Maybe one or two of the members had been in an old core band. They were on Homestead which meant their records seemed to be everywhere (until I started wanting to buy them). There was a whole wave of bands like Squirrel Bait, Bastro, Bitch Magnet and Slint. Once I realized how good they were, it was like a treasure hunt to find the records. That were intense but not hardcore. I guess early indie rock before that meant twee wanna be beach boy shit. And weirder than Husker Du or Dinosaur JR..
Someone made me a tape with "listening to sally" on it and I was really into it but also kind of creeped out.(this is where the Honor Role tribute starts) I never got a chance to see them. They were an 80s NC band. There were amazing hardcore bands(COC, No Labels, etc) from NC and there would be a bunch of good "indie rock" bands -Superchunk/Small/etc/etc, but these guys seemed out of place. If St.Vitus was born to late, these guys were born too early. The music was off kilter. Totally driven but not straight forward. And the singer was like some nerd savant. Kinda DC, but weirder. They had a couple of singles and an LP. All available on a merge reissue cd. There even been a 82 recording put on on 7". Crucial. They split up and there seemed to be 2 factions of bands . The singer went on to a band called Coral. I was going to see them on night at the Middle East opening for Drive Like Jehu, but I went to eat dinner and missed them (smooth move). Coral had 2 good singles. They are reminiscent of Honor Role because of the vocals and angular rock shit. Their first lp was not so hot(nice creepy cover though), but the second atlamont in dub was amazing and like so many records I seem to love it just feel through the cracks. Overshadowed by the second wave of bands like Rodan or Don Caballero or whatever. The singer had another band after this they did at least a single on merge, but I can't remember if it was any good- that is probably an indication it wasn't. Pen Rolllings the guitarist seemed to decide to no longer have vocalistsafter honor role. Breadwinner was a sick insturmental band that put out some amazing singles. Then there was ButterGlove-he had a real way with names. He is still kicking it in LoinCloth a band beloved by both Swami and Southernlord records. Which is indicative of the sort of math-metal arena in which they operated.

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