The Hoover Genealogy Project - An Introduction:
Hardcore for Nerds has a new project: to post as much as possible, with as much care as possible, of the Hoover genealogy. In total, there are fifteen bands which share at least one member with Hoover (source: bandtoband.com) of which I only know three or four well. So it will be a journey of discovery for all of us.
The reason behind this project is not only that Hoover themselves were an amazing group, but that the groups that followed in its wake are distinctively awesome bands. This is not the usual Dischord incestuousness, whereby the same bands are repeatedly recycled until they attained their best known form (read: Fugazi) but a much broader process. For a start, with the exception of the Crownhate Ruin, none of the post-Hoover bands were on Dischord itself - para-labels like Slowdime notwithstanding. Secondly, the majority of bands are progressions from Hoover, not previous, partial incarnations (Fine Day and Admiral aside). Hoover Union, to give them their full title as according to Lurid Traversal, were made up of disparate elements of jazz, dub, post-hardcore and searing emo rock. Therefore the bands after tend to incorporate differing balances of styles, musicianship and influences.
Personally I am most familiar with the later bands that Alex Dunham, guitarist for Hoover, has been in; namely, Radio Flyer, Regulator Watts and Abilene. So that's the kind of direction that this project is starting off at; however, exploring the genealogy works like the domino effect, where each record suggests something differen and interesting to follow. Hence expect the series to jump around a bit. Generally I hope to do single or double posts (the latter perhaps where albums/bands can be placed close together in sound or history) while also keeping up with the normal range of stuff on the blog - so don't worry, things won't get too close-minded.
What more to add? Like I said, I only know a small number of the overall family tree at all well, so contributions would be welcome. I'm hoping to listen to and discover some of the stuff I haven't heard before, but that seems more and more like a mammoth task. Essentially, I'm open to making this a communal effort, either on this blog or within a network of blogs. Also, requests - a few particular items I haven't heard: Winds of Change (an early Alex Dunham group); Side Car Freddie by Hoover; and the Watts System Ltd. compilation song (Regulator Watts by another name).
Other than that, this is simply the beginning of an interesting and hopefully long-running task: the Hardcore for Nerds Hoover Genealogy Project.
First up is this single, from 1997 and a joint release on Slowdime and Dischord. Regulator Watts was a three piece with Alex Dunham on guitar and vocals. One of the closest-sounding groups to Hoover, this is like a rockier, faster and heavier version of that band on the first track, 'New Low Moline', and a mellower, groovier version on the second, 'Rocket to Chicago'. [Edit: 'Rocket to Chicago' is actually meant to be the first track, and 'New Low Moline' the second. The order of these two tracks on the below-mentioned Mercury CD collection is also in error] As a three-piece, Regulator Watts are kind of stripped-down, not that you'd notice it much for the amount of frantic tension and energy on display; not quite the epic emo-scapes you would expect from Hoover, but 'Rocket to Chicago' does stretch things out in a very Radio Flyer-ish melodic way.
New Low Moline can also be found on the Mercury CD collection of Regulator Watts tracks. The second cover above is my own, since the image on Southern Records was badly pixelated. It was kind of my homage to the general design of Hoover/Radio Flyer/Regulator Watts covers, which all figure moody pictures of geometrically interesting and usually mechanical things (hence also the pattern in band names, with 'Regulator Watts' also being the title of a song on Lurid Traversal). The fact that it's not an inanimate object, but actually a photograph of a plant in my garden, is beside the fact. I liked the photograph...