'A Primer', 7" 1994
I haven't been able to find downloads of this single, but you can listen to two of the three tracks on the Crownhate Myspace:
"The Crownhate Ruin was a band from Washington DC from 1994 until 1996. We were something, alright.
The songs on this site are from our first two singles. They were transferred from the vinyl with very little enhancement -- a little cleaning, a little remastering; yeah, they could be better. That said, here's hoping you enjoy hearing them again.
Somewhere along the way we likely insulted you at one of our shows. We still stand by that.
'Last Place in Triage' is a fast, quite punky song. Not quite what you would associate with the Crownhate Ruin, except in a very early inception I suppose. It has a good deal of complexity though, and some stop-start mathiness towards the end. 'Present for President' introduces the quiet, hynoptic groove which is more recognizably Crownhate Ruin-ish.
The picture above was the best I could find of the cover for 'A Primer', although as you can see it's fairly simple and could be approximately reproduced without too much difficulty. What is interesting is where I found it, on a Japanese website called valsehot.com (named after a Clifford Brown/Max Roach jazz tune?). Apparently some kind of distributor/tour promoter - if anyone can read Japanese, maybe you can have a look at their reviews page and see what it has to say about a whole bunch of obscure emo stuff, including - and relevant to the Hoover Genealogy Project - 'A Primer', Fine Day, Admiral and the Boom/Sorts!
'Elementary', 7" 1994
The second song on this, 'Pioneers', was featured here on the Hoover mixtape. There, I said:
"This track, 'Pioneers, takes the heavy, rhythmic part of Lurid Traversal and stretches it out and I guess explores it even more deeply.... Although it's kind of a straightforward post-hardcore by numbers song, it actually reminds me of Current/Indian Summer style emo, all crashing dynamics and mad, distorted crunchiness... plus tender whispering, of course"
Definitely more Crownhate Ruin-ish again than the first 7", although like I say with a certain shimmering quiet/loud emo sensibilty. Then again, it was 1994. 'Lessons in Thread', the first track, does the same thing as 'Pioneers' in a simpler, more abbreviated fashion. In fact the intro, before it opens up into the characteristically jerky Crownhate guitarwork, is an alluring piece of splintery emopeggio and a humming bassline. But it's 'Pioneers' that I keep coming back to, and the one early Crownhate Ruin track I chose to put on the mix... the heavy parts towards the end absolutely slay in a way that only the songs of the best 90s emo bands can.
The second download is exactly the same with regards to the 'Elementary' tracks, but is just an earlier archive I uploaded with the two tracks of the Crownhate Ruin/Karate split appended. Karate is not a band I know much about, other than they went on to be a bit better known and generally popular amongst fans of 90s post-hardcore/emo stuff. So if there are any fans of Karate out there who don't have this, here you are!
The Crownhate track, 'Visit to Mars' is good, a little lo-fi perhaps and one of their more impatient songs; and the Karate track, 'Cherry Coke', is good too, a nice grungey groove which goes some interesting places. Hell, I actually quite like this - consider them honorary members of the genealogy...
From myspace tracks, to random mp3s of unknown origin, here's the real deal: the actual 7" of 'Intermediate'. And I didn't even have to eBay it, thanks to Dischord Records - this, along with the Until the Eagle Grins LP, was one of the two items I ordered from them online as reported in this post. So although the artwork stays pretty minimalist over the three volumes, you can view it in increasingly detail comprehensive detail. Click on the lower three pictures to see them larger; and yes, the centre of the record does say "NOTE To facilitate page turns, performers are advised to cut their arms off". Why, I'm not sure.
'Intermediate' was released jointly by T.C. Ruin (#003) and Dischord (#104.5). It has a higher number than the LP (#98) - which was released in January, 1996 - but was released the year before (according to Southern). Opening it up first, I was struck by how DIY it was. No card sleeve, just a folded-over printed cover slipped into a clear plastic sleeve, with the record in its paper sleeve inside both. I had practically disassembled it before realising how to get at the record! Of course, that's speaking as someone unfazed by anything more complex than a jewel case up until a couple of months ago. But still, it added some authenticity to it.
As one might expect, the two songs on 'Intermediate' sound the closest to the Crownhate Ruin sound of Until the Eagle Grins. This is clear from the opening chords of 'Better Still if they don't Know', followed by what are essentially drum fills but still sound great. Rhythms rise and fall, swelling into each other, guitars swoop down and general, tightly orchestrated mayhem ensues until it's time to break for a quiet part. In some ways 'Better Still if they don't Know' is quite like 'Visit to Mars'; as impatient, but tighter musically.
The energetic b-side, 'Every Minute's Sucker' is in fact on the CD version of the full-length. So in that sense, it naturally embodies the sound of that album: lots of stop-start dynamics; the momentarily plaintive vocals of Fred Erskine, off-key harmonies; and the characteristic demented drum tattoo of Vin Novara, combined with the scuzzy sniping of Joseph McRedmond's guitar - all wrapped up into that peculiar vortex of energy that is the Crownhate Ruin.