Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Abilene - s/t - (after eggcityradio.com)

Some post-hardcore Hoover expansiveness...

It would probably be a while before I got round to posting this, if I waited until I could put together my own words to describe what is an absolute beauty of an album. So for the moment at least, I'm lifting this part of a post from Egg City Radio, formerly Post Punk Junk. It's not too much of a crime, I think, as most of it is lifted from other reviews in the first place. Of course, there are a few words I will say anyway:

Namely that Abilene, the most recent of Alex Dunham's post-Hoover bands, is a tale of two groups - essentially, one with Fred Erskine, and one (of this album) without. I think to explain the difference it would be easiest to direct you to tracks #6 and #9 of the Hoover mixtape. Personally, although I discovered the second album Two Guns, Twin Arrows first, Abilene is the subtle, slow-burning winner of the contest between them. Just about.


“Presumably named for the central Texas town, Abilene is a Chicago trio with a rich, deep sound. Their songs focus on the fluid, dynamic interplay between guitar and bass. The bass provides a comfortable, sidling groove for the guitar(s) to dance around; sometimes it’s a slow waltz, sometimes an amphetamine-fueled breakdance, but regardless of the mood, that assured bass groove keeps things smooth. Busy, syncopated percussion makes these songs intensely rhythmic. Occasionally singer (and guitarist) Alex Dunham adds bleak, muttering vocals, but the words are spread sparsely throughout Abilene’s songs, as the band members are more interested in their instruments’ quiet synergy. Every so often, Abilene builds to a rough, angular crescendo that seems to release a bit of the boxed-up electricity of their moody pieces, but for the most part their songs are all about low-tempo restraint that places equal focus on each instrument…(t)he members of this trio are all accomplished musicians, as a look at their respective resumes will indicate: Dunham formerly served in little-known post-punk greats Regulatorwatts and Hoover. Bassist Craig Ackerman was in Lustre King and drummer Scott Anderson was in Chisel Drill Hammer.”

- Jesse Ashlock, Epitonic

"The above description might make the band sound like a ton of other post-rock combos from the same era, such as the incredible The For Carnation, but a strange devotion to the emo leanings of its own yesteryear, coupled with dense and focused composition, sets Abilene apart. I always love to highlight songs that make for great bike ride listening, since I do spend an hour each day as I ride back and forth from work, and the Abilene song “October” is a killer. A reviewer named Jim Steed at fakejazz.com put it best:"

“…the guitar and bass parts are much more interesting, following a swirling pattern for a very hypnotic effect. The payoff here soars, the guitar changing sound, turning into an approaching pack of jet planes poised for attack."





blend77 said...

A Truly great album.

I gotta thank Proven Hollow for hooking me up with these last year. Yet another band I would have been rabidly fond of had I heard them in their hey day. Instead I am left with these perfect time capsules of an over-saturated genre.

josephlovesit said...

Man, this is a really great album. "October" floored me when I heard it tonight.

I think Alex Dunham has the 'midas touch,' as does your genealogy project. Keep 'em coming.

gabbagabbahey said...

- blend. You kind of point out there, that this album is kinda of hard to get a hold of. I dunno, is Slowdime folded or something? Their website link is dead, anyway.
This would be a great album for me to get on vinyl.

- josephlovesit. Yeah, 'October' is amazing. But did you not hear it on the mixtape already? ;)
'Blackleg' is similarly wonderful; for ages, that was the one song of this album I had, and I would have worn it out listening to it if it wasn't an mp3!

blend77 said...

ahh, yesh, Blackleg is equally as good. And as a matter of fact, I have not been able to find this on vinyl anywhere. WTF! ^_^

No news on Slowdime over here. That would be a sad thing.

On a lighter note. Serendipity led me to the Arcade Fire album again, and it seems my fickle tastes may have got the best of me. I dont love it. But I'm kind of enjoying it. Thats as much I'll say. It's too early in the morning to make concrete statements

gabbagabbahey said...

that fakejazz review quoted in the eggcityradio post is quite interesting; well worth reading in full, because he takes a much dimmer view of the album as a whole than that description of 'October' would suggest... and basicallys says 'Blackleg' is a less effective version of 'October': although I do think now that 'October' is the better, I still love 'Blackleg'. It is significantly shorter, however.

Proletarietta said...

Amazing post as per usual, Gabba. REEEALLLY looking forward to the Guyver post as those records have been pilfered from my collection by evil indie rock women of my sorted past.

gabbagabbahey said...

- proletarietta. Here's the Guyver-1 7":


I upped it a while ago and have been posting the link for people whom I think it would benefit... I shall post the full-length in the near future. And then your sordid past will be sorted?

Anonymous said...

Love Abilene :) And nice to know that not only me love the first one more ;)

gabbagabbahey said...

really? most people seem to be of that opinion (myself included, as well). I guess the fact that the second is more widely available lends to it being better appreciated.

I need to sit down and do a proper comparison of them, perhaps (equally you could argue that its best to enjoy them as completely separate works). But first I need to post about the Crownhate Ruin, since I haven't done much Fred Erskine yet... and I have them on cool vinyl!

Anonymous said...

Another cool vinyl! I'm trying hard not to be jealous ;)

I like your Hoover-related posts. Just listening to them again for a last few weeks. I'm never tired of Hoover sound!

gabbagabbahey said...

two cool vinyls, actually... I got the Crownhate Ruin LP and their one Dischord 7". I'm still looking for one of their 7"s, as you might have seen on the sidebar - I got the other from destroyer at your site, I think. So, if you see it in mp3 format around somewhere, let me know!

Funny thing is, I haven't listened to Hoover (the original band, that is) in a long while now! Maybe 'cos I don't have it on cv...

mike cack said...

you know whoe ever said that the band name was after a town in texas is very wrong but if you look at history correctly.abilene is actually a boys name and the meaning behind it is that abilene is the father of mourning(emotions). please have that fixed out of the text because if you have ever listend to those records expecially the first one you will understand why

gabbagabbahey said...

yeah, according to cutebabynames.com...

It is also a biblical placename, alternately translated into "city of the plains" from Hebrew, which gave rise to the Kansas + Texas towns.

just because your translation is apt, doesn't mean that's where they got the name from. Also please note the reference to Abilene, TX is clearly shown as an annotated quote.

- gabba

kevinnrg said...

Great band, Al Dunham is a genius in my book. I had the great pleasure of seeing Hoover many times and hanging out with them back in 92/93. Everything Dunham has done rules, his guitar playing is unique and i'm gutted i never got to see Regulator Watts (i think Aesthetics of.. is his finest work). If any one has any live photos/footage of this band, then please get in touch, i have some Hoover rarities you might be interested in, Ciao for now.

A Dunham said...

Thank you all for your kind words. Hoover is actually playing two shows this late August at the St Feliu festival in Spain and in London as well.

gabbagabbahey said...

that is such good news. I'm lost for words.

except - London, August 27, Bluetip and Hoover... I'm gonna try like hell to be there.

Manel said...

Hi, I was at the Sant Feliu show and I can say that the show is already in my all time top 5, no doubt.
I saw them four years ago in Barcelona and that was an amazing show, but Sant Feliu was even better.
I was really afraid that the gigantic size of the stage would be an obstacle for the show, but Hoover rocked the house like it was a club and not like the arena rock stage that it actually was.
Amazing amazing show!
I was talking to Joe shortly after the show and I asked him why the hell they didn´t get back together and write some stuff, as it seemed like this was the best time of their life as a band. He said that everything was possible, that there were some personal matters that seemed to push them towards it.
so there you go, maybe we have another hoover record after all.
Sorry for the long post, I felt like sharing this with you guys.
Awesome blog, btw!

Adi said...
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