Saturday, June 16, 2007
Where they ahead of their time of 30 years too late? Sometimes bands with great record collections and brains can't transcend their good taste in music. That was never the case with the young pioneers. There are also a lot of bands that talk a lot of shit, but don't walk the talk. Again that wasn't the Pioneers.
From 93-98 over the course of 3 albums, and 6 singles they the laid out their unique musical vision. Equal parts Bob Dylan, Blitz, and Curtis Mayfield. Visual clues in the layouts and audio clues in the music let you know something was going on and made you feel like you were special if you got it. A basic live uniform that called to mind the best soul groups and the People's Republic of China.
The lyrics were political, but not some Crass lecture. A "working men are pissed" D.Boon type perspective mixed with name checking and allusions to all sorts of historical minutia worth investigating. Live reports from the middle of a failing America. All of this got filtered through the reality of living south of the rust belt deep in the depressed and crime ridden heart of Dixie. They were even ahead of their time moving to Richmond...
The improved with every release. Starting out with a pseudo acoustic punk skiffle. Folkie harmonica and acoustic colliding with distorted vocals. "Going electric" was a serious upgrade. Marty and Brooks were a killer rhythm section. Live shows were always energetic and they toured quite a bit.
The Crimewave 10" hinted at a Fall/Minutemen brilliance.
The final Free the Young Pioneers LP pushes it even further. Short super catchy songs that are anything but straight ahead. The muster up the courage to pull off an Impressions cover. For you serious record nerds, make sure you get it on red wax! Most of these records can be found in the used bins of your local record store and for those to lazy to travel, there is always ebay or itunes. You might as well go dig them out know before you wait to long and they become the next thing in KBD or DIY record nerd hype.