Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fight Like Apes - Live @ Whelans, 26/09/08

'You Are The Hat' from Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Global Medallion LP. The usual set opener for the band.

So that was it. The FLApes debut album launch after ten months, for me, of listening to arguably the biggest, and most exciting, indie band to have come out of Dublin for a long time. Last November was their first headlining gig in Whelans, to promote their second EP, David Carradine Is A Bounty Hunter Whose Robotic Arm Hates Your Crotch. With a band with eight songs to their name - plus one very special cover - they blew me away then; last night, with the last time I had seen them being in April with 2/3rds of Mclusky, Future of the Left, was full circle in a perfect way.

I was going to review the show, but I've always been ambiguous in my attitude 'reviewing' shows as such. A lot of what I have to process about this show is tied up in processing the album, which is really cohering for me now that I have it on the turntable (and only a couple of scattered mp3s in fact, as I'm out of eMusic downloads for the moment.) In addition, I still haven't found out the name of the support band, who were actually quite good (were they English?). Sort of Mclusky surrogates as well (see below). Anyway, I might get back to it.


Still haven't found out the name of the three-piece support band, but I did find this interesting review on Irish indie music website ('cluas' is the Irish word for 'ear') which describes the show as "one of the most terrifying gig experiences of my life" - due to "an over-excited crowd" - but also "inexplicably one of the best gig experiences" for the music.

Thanks to Tower Records for the free poster above, which came in a canvas bag - it's the tenth anniversary since the opening of the flagship Irish store on Wicklow Street, which is still by far the best major record store in Dublin and probably the rest of Ireland - with a bunch of promo CDs and, get this, Fight Like Apes - 'Lend Me Your Face' 7". Yellow vinyl, backed with their excellent cover of Mclusky's 'Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues'.

On which note, very many thanks to the girl behind me who picked up my glasses after they fell off during that song (yes, I wear glasses. Who'd have thought?) They've - surprisingly - never done that before, but I had to go apeshit, as it were, for that song, especially for MayKay's line "This isn't a question, it's a statement: Mclusky". I'm not sure exactly how many of Dublin's gig-going population are familiar with the Welsh noise-punk pioneers yet, but anyone who's been to one of Fight Like Apes' gigs will have heard that song. Two things to note: first, it's Mclusky, all one word, with a lower-case 'l'; and second, Future of the Left are very good, but Shooting at Unarmed Men - Jon Chapple, the Mclusky bassist's band - are the ones to check out this year for their album Triptych.

Fight Like Apes on eMusic (full album & the two EPs)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fight Like Apes - 'Jake Summers' (Video)/Further Thoughts

(Fold-out poster art of the album cover, by Loreana Rushe)

(New video for 'Jake Summers' from Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion. Original 7" with 'Battlestations' B-side here!)

Further Thoughts:

This morning I went back to the first two Fight Like Apes EPs, How Am I Supposed To Kill You When You Have All The Guns and David Carradine is a Bounty Hunter Whose [sic] Robotic Arm Hates Your Crotch, for the first time in a while and I realised why there was something wrong about the choices for the poll above, right: I don't prefer the original versions of 'Jake Summers', 'Do You Karate', 'Lend Me Your Face', etc., as much as I prefer my memory of them. As Nialler9 pointed out, "put those old versions on this album and they would stand out a mile and not in a good way".

On re-listening, the older tracks do lack - and again, not in a good way - the production oomph of the new album. At the same time, a few minutes in and I'm enjoying the EPs just like I was, oh, for this first time eleven months ago. It's not either/or, there's something to be enjoyed in both sets of versions, and preference doesn't have to come into it.

'Something Global' both made me recoil and drew me in on the first few listens; to be trite, 'it grew on me', but it was more the combination of familiar and unfamiliar, or expected and unexpected, that intrigued me. 'Knucklehead' likewise really developed over time into what I now think is a really catchy B-side.There are several of the new songs which don't instantly or unambiguously appeal to me, but far from decrying them as filler I'll admit that there were parts of the EPs which didn't grab me for a while either - and that now very much do.

To make a really uncharitable suggestion, 'Something Global', 'I'm Beginning To Think You Prefer Beverly Hills 90210 To Me', 'Lumpy Dough' and I guess 'Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues' would have made a great EP. But a third EP, whatever stuff you may want to make up about the FLApes ethos, wouldn't have been a good decision for the band either commercially or artistically. There's an obvious purpose to this album and to the inclusion of the reworkings.

Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion deserves a lot more than supposedly typical Irish begrudgery, and I think it will receive a lot more, by way of popular reception and of contribution to the Irish indie scene. Just like the picture above, it folds out into something bigger than, but still based on (look at the bottom left-hand corner), the original sound.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Zomes - s/t

[opening track]

Zomes is the first solo album from Asa Osborne, guitarist of the almighty Lungfish and Higgs/Osborne side project Pupils. Or, as Dischord puts it (read between the lines a little):




Well, how much you might like this is probably predicated on whether you like Lungfish or not, and how much and for how long you've liked them. Talking Songs for Walking is likely one of my top ten Dischord albums of all time, and of course it represents just one of a long string of great Lungfish records. Because I got into the band through that album - only slightly more than a few years ago - rather than through their contemporaneous work, I've taken to methodically absorbing their albums, year by year.

For the past year to six months, I was arrested at Sound in Time and Indivisible; but jumped ahead to embrace Pupils and now, it seems, Zomes. Sound in Time was a truly ear-shattering record, a continuing echo of the over-saturated, monumental post-hardcore of Talking Songs; Indivisible almost the opposite, quiet and reflective and more in the vein of Pass and Stow. Neither of those two records gave me any particular reason to stop collecting Lungfish albums (either through eMusic or blogs) other than, perhaps, a sense of satisfactory completeness. Repetition is very much part of the Lungfish canon: as in the songs, so with albums; although there is variation as described above, and it is not without an overall sense of progression.

The Pupils album stripped the Lungfish sound down to an almost folksy quality, combining Daniel Higgs's eccentricity and esotericism with Asa Osborne's likewise, and his melodic contribution in feel and atmosphere. Zomes, which Insound describes as "full of beautiful Seesselberg-sized chunks of loop-like melodies that effervesce while Osborne brings them to life" continues this, adding also "a cinematic quality to the material here that recalls 'library music,' East German Indianerfilmen soundtracks, and even Blues Control at their most humid". Zomes is denser than Pupils, perhaps obviously so because of the lack of vocals, but the concentration on guitar also produces a sound which is richer in many more unconventional ways.

Zomes also fits in with other post-rock/post-hardcore groups that I've been listening to this year - primarily Human Bell and Arboroteum, which mirror a lot of the folksy/noise elements of Pupils and the absorbing rhythms of Lungfish, but also Grails, which incorporates the atavistic qualities of 60s musical culture into their bombastic, hyper-cultural rock in a similar way to the drone-filled echoes which bleed into this.

A lot of my favourite albums of the year are coming down to face-offs between pairs of outstanding examples from broad or not so broad categories: hence punk rock comes down to ...Who Calls So Loud versus Shooting At Unarmed Men (two utterly different styles of 'punk', admittedly), Irish rock between Fight Like Apes and Ham Sandwich, post-rock between Grails and (possibly) Mogwai - and now, instrumental, genre-, body- and mind-encompassing Lungfish-based post-hardcore between Human Bell and Zomes.

Of course, if I've learnt anything (probably incorrectly) from a Lungfish record it's that non-dualism is usually a good thing, so why does there have to be only one winner?

Zomes - s/t (via Our Fucking Boundaries)

Zomes - s/t on eMusic

[Apologies for the relative - but largely unnecessary - verbosity of this post, it's the first lengthy thing I've written since starting a new year of college (two weeks ago) and having in the meantime absorbed presumably thousands of words of academic literature in the meantime, without any obvious outlet like this - I just heard this album from yesterday, and wanted to talk about it. These are the words that came out.]

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fight Like Apes - Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion

Full album streaming all this week on


"Fight Like Apes launch their debut album, Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion with a sold-out show at Whelans, Dublin on 26th September, 2008.

The performance will be broadcast live on Dublin’s leading indie-rock station Phantom 105.2.

Phantom 105.2’s flagship drivetime show, Heavy Traffic with Jack Hyland (5-8pm), will air live from The Village Venue on Dublin’s Wexford St. on the day, leading FLApes fans up to the sold-out performance that night. The band are expected on-stage at approximately 10pm – tune in to Phantom over the coming weeks for confirmation of broadcast times.


Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion will be streaming live for free from from the 19th - 25th September and will then be released on CD and vinyl in record stores across Ireland and on download from the usual on-line outlets on Friday September 26th."

(from Unarocks and/or a random press release)

There are reviews up already in a few places: Thrill Pier's 'First Impressions'; Those Geese Were Stupified; and Analogue Magazine. They're all quite positive, though Thrill Pier takes issue with the reworked tracks from the first EPs (which make up slightly less than half of the new album), as in "Overall though it’s only “Snore Bore Whore”, which I would have considered to be a minor part of their EP canon which is greatly improved on the album", while Analogue in the fine tradition of student (or quasi- former student) publications everywhere, manage to spell "trepidation" correctly in the first line and to mispell "feted" in the the second.

For my part, I've only listened to the first half of the album (up until the rather faithfully redone version of 'Battlestations') via the stream so far, as the process of selecting each song is rather tedious and the sound quality doesn't really do the album justice. I'm really looking forward to the gig on Friday night, and hopefully I'll pick up a copy of the LP earlier the same day (as much because it has an extra version of 'You Are the Hat' as for the fact that I'm a reluctant vinyl fiend).


nialler9 has added his thoughts on what seems to him "the most anticipated Irish debut album of the last five years". It also includes a riposte to the mild begrudgery (by Irish standards, at least) about the re-recording of tracks.

I've now listened to the second half of the album stream, and it's really impressive. Both 'Do You Karate?' and 'Snore Bore Whore' seem to benefit from their reworkings. The latter more obviously so, although it was one of my favourites from the EPs in the first place, and from this performance recorded for the Other Voices TV series. 'Do You Karate' however, strikes me as a very worthwhile amping up of the original - also for the midway mark of the new album - and I think in retrospect it always seemed like a transitional tune between small to large indie band.

I could pass on 'Megameanie' or 'Recyclable Ass' for the moment, although I know from 'Something Global' and 'Knucklehead' that the new originals grow on me quickly. The lengthy stretch of 'I'm Beginning To Think You Prefer 90210 To Me' and 'Lumpy Dough' immediately set this album as a real progression of their sound for me; the second of the two (high-quality stream below) I predict will be absolutely catastrophic - in a positive way - live. At least, it was rather good when they played it (I think) in the last set I saw them play.

'Lumpy Dough' from Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Live on WFMU: Hoover, Lincoln and Crownhate Ruin

These recordings are from Pat Duncan's show on the US alternative radio station, WFMU, originally recorded in the years 1993 and 1994 and re-broadcast in this decade. You can see the playlists for all of his shows available for streaming here. This Hoover set is nearly an hour long, and includes songs from both The Lurid Traversal of Route 7 and (what would then become) the Slowdime EP, i.e. then unreleased songs, as well as the atmospheric vocal recordings just like in Lurid Traversal.

Lincoln isn't part of the Hoover family tree - as in they share no members - but their split with Hoover was one of the latter band's earliest releases, while Lincoln themselves only released two other 7"s, of two and four songs each. 'Benchwarmer' is from the Hoover split, and the last song 'Sugarloaf' is from their first 7", on Watermark Records. Despite the lesser number of tracks, this set shows a band with a similar style of music, showing that Hoover weren't completely alone in what they were doing (and, um, in what Fugazi weren't) although no-one was quite as good at it as they were.

Finally, the Crownhate Ruin set is the reason I waited this long before posting these, as I wanted to get around to listening to it properly (and, as it turns out, fairly easily record it) before presenting them together. All these tracks are from the first two sequential Crownhate Ruin 7"s ('A Primer' and 'Elementary') as well as the split with Karate, plus some extra tracks; nothing specifically from Until the Eagle Grins. Compared to Hoover this makes them rather prolific, for whatever reason, turning out a progression of different tracks culminating in the full-length.

Hoover, recorded live in the WFMU studio 4/13/94. Engineered by Charles Maggio.

(Pat Duncan - June 24, 2004)

1. TNT For The Man

2. Pretender

3. Electrolux

4. Shut

5. New Five Drive

6. Breather Resist

7. Weeds

8. Cut Like Drugs

9. Return

Lincoln, recorded live at WFMU on 6/24/93.

(Pat Duncan - November 17, 2005)

1. Benchwarmer

2. Repair & Reward

3. Lil' Slugger

4. A.C. Wade

5. Sugarloaf

The Crownhate Ruin, recorded live at WFMU 11/26/94. Engineered by Charles Maggio.

(Pat Duncan - June 23, 2005)

1. Open Bottle

2. A Visit From Mars

3. Lesson In Thread

4. My Country Getaway

5. No Claims Enemy

6. Baby Blue & Black

7. Present To President

8. Last Place In Triage

Hoover & Lincoln (one download, two files)

Hoover show (split into separate mp3s thanks to Matt): part 1 ; part 2

The Crownhate Ruin (one file)

(separate mp3s)

Go to the playlist links to stream the shows in their entirety, or just download the recordings above (the latter done by myself, thanks to whoever did the former originally. It's dead easy, really.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Swing High!

Over at my other blog, Steady Diet of Books ('unveiled Fugazi reference') I've made the first post in a good while, on a book that I've barely just finished reading, Jon Savage's Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture. The whole book is fascinating, from a historical, social and cultural perspective, but what was obviously going to be of particular interest to me was the chapter on "German Swing Kids and French Zazous". The first being the inspiration for the 90s San Diego emo/hardcore group, but the movement being in general a fascinating expression of rebellion through the cutting-edge music of the 30s and 40s, jazz (and a mirror to a lot of the later youth rebellion of punk).

Hence, after a cursory description and review of the book, I spend most of the post providing a summary of the relevant chapters.

The picture above is nothing to do with jazz, it's just on the front cover. 'Swing High' was, apparently, the adopted greeting of the 1930s Dusseldorf-based International Rhythm Club.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Reasons to be Emo(core) #150: Hot Water Music – Moonpies for Misfits

'Moments Pass’ from Moonpies for Misfits (EP), No Idea Records 1999.

Choosing A Flight and a Crash as one of the standard bearers of punk rock in the 21st century didn’t go down too well, but by and large I stand by my choice. However, I am a bona fide fan of old school Hot Water Music, and yes, I could see Forever and Counting (vinyl repress in the mail!) as my favourite too, or Fuel for the Hate Game, or No Division. Moonpies for Misfits is a four-song EP that fits, musically, in between Forever and Counting and No Division (it was released on the No Idea label in the same year, 1999, as the latter album was on Some Records).

It may not be the very best HWM record (for that, see above) but it’s still almost perfect in its own way. I found this review on Amazon which sums it up pretty well:

“The little DIY outfit from Gainesville that could. Hot Water Music have kept their integrity intact throughout their rise from Florida emo-core legends to mid-major label rising stars. This EP offers 4 songs from an era when the band was just blooming and realizing the extent of their artistic ability...”

Or, more generally, consult the emo non-bible that is Fourfa, which says (in reference to Finding the Rhythms/Fuel For the Hate Game, which is a few years earlier, but still the old Hot Water Music style):

“Takes the best of the Fuel/Fugazi twin vocal/twin guitar drive and adds a sweaty Avail pop-punk pulse, with scratchy, gruff singing that doesn't need to be beautiful to get the point across. This band positively embarrasses bands with only one singer.”

If you want a great overview of the Hot Water Music sound from Finding the Rhythms up until No Division (and including a brief diversion into the Blacktop Cadence’s Chemistry for Changing Times), head over to Music for the Working Man and download the two podcasts available there. Mostly, he lets the music speak for itself, but adds in some of the story too and - best of all – isn’t afraid to say the word ‘emo’ or ‘emocore’.


’Moments Pass’ opens up Moonpies for Misfits with a relatively unusual, for Hot Water Music, sideswipe of feedback - and then kicks, or rather chugs, into life. Sometimes earlier HWM sounds too dense, too full of weight, to be easily accessible – and this might turn a lot of people off – but what this song demonstrates is the melody suffused into the hardcore drive, a legacy of the ‘emocore’ genre in general and of the album Forever and Counting in particular. ‘Moments Pass’ is a song about seizing life as it comes, or as the liner notes to Live at The Hardback say: “this song is about taking advantage of the time we have with our friends or loved ones now. Mainly because we never know what tomorrow will unfold.”

and up to yours to sit down for a fucking cup of coffee and shoot the shit.

‘Another Way’ is one of Hot Water Music’s personal/political songs, like ‘A Clear Line’ from A Flight and a Crash. “Say what’s wrong with this way, beside the fact it’s not in the book you read”. Independence, tolerance, plurality and “no division” are all elements of the Hot Water Music philosophy; but it’s personal too, a way to live one’s own life in co-existence and in community with others, despite all the difficulties inherent in that approach. E pluribus unum, and all that. I’m not sure if I should really mention Obama (again) here, but from what I see the US has immensely polarised politics – compared to a broadly social democratic Europe, at least – and this is something punk hasn’t often helped with. Often with good reason, of course, but I’d much rather see an emergence of Obama (left of-)centrism than a re-run of anti-Reagan (and anti-Bush) punk rock with McCain as presidential hate figure.

"Day by day we all change. Systems change.

So why can’t we accept other ways, in respect

to learn for our own?"

‘Where We Belong’ is a relationship song, a “song as a story of a crucial turning point in two people’s lives. Two people who found a peace through love they thought they would never know and learned how to keep it… from rooftops then, to rooftops now we’ve seen why we’re still here and who we’re both about…” (Live at The Hardback liner notes.) A lot of this song sounds more like Fuel For the Hate Game, a rawer, rougher sound, before it moves into a meandering, melodic passage straight out of Forever and Counting. Climbing and building, ever upward and rhythmically.

Start now. Start right. Stay strong. Stay tight.

And we can rise side by side."

'Moonpies for Misfits' is another song that tells a story, of change from youthful arrogance/indifference to similar but more mellowed adulthood, still as strong and as forthright but more lastingly so: "face to face here we stand strong, but this time we stand for good". It's the quintessential post-hardcore song, the sound and the attitude from after the heady excesses of punk. Just as heavy - though a slower song than the other three - and fundamentally moving, it also has that profound sense of repose, of position, of difficult calm, that inhabits Hot Water Music's best work.

"...We used used to tear it up reckless.

Moonpies for misfits with no cares.

You got that right, I said.

We're still here.

Scarred, but here.

But, then again, we were invincible then.

We're still here.

Just not like then."


Moonpies for Misfits*

1. Moments Pass

2. Another Way

3. Where We Belong

4. Moonpies for Misfits

Live at the Hardback

5. Moments Pass (live)

6. Where We Belong (live)


Moonpies for Misfits is out of print at No Idea, but plenty of copies are still available on Amazon. Live at The Hardback is still for sale on vinyl or CD from No Idea.

* Moonpies, for non (Southeastern?)-Americans, are a trademark type of biscuit (‘cookie’) consisting of two round Graham crackers sandwiching a marshmallow and dipped in chocolate. The English translation of ‘Moonpies for Misfits’ would essentially be ‘Wagon Wheels for Wankers’.


(Click to expand & read liner notes)


A final note on the cover artwork. Just looking at it on the screen now, it's amazing. There are equally good Hot Water Music covers, such as the discombobulated man on A Flight and A Crash or the bellicose mutants on the front of Fuel for the Hate Game. In fact, all their album covers are of superbly high quality - because they are all done by the same artist, Scott Sinclair (SINC, as you can see in the corner.)

It's a pity, because of the high quality, that there isn't much on the internet about Sinclair's work - although he is a professional artist. He has a Myspace and a website in construction (there's nothing there at the moment, other than a damn cool title picture). I remember he used to have a site where one could look at a variety of his work, HWM and non-HWM.

I'm no art critic, but I guess I could describe SINC's style as a sort of modernist, semi-cubist form. Although it has evolved just as much as the band's sound, it has always matched Hot Water Music's vibe: hard edges, muted colours, but a whole lotta feeling and pathos put into the image. 'Moonpies for Misfits' has the one central figure, a man stripped to the waist and apparently carrying a pick-axe. In its stance, it could almost seem like a Socialist Realist tableau - but the figure appears just as skinny and emaciated as it does muscular - more Picasso-like. SINC's artworks, particularly his skeletal, awkard male forms, often put me in mind of Picasso's The Old Guitarist - although it's a Blue Period painting, not (directly) a Cubist one. Either way, there's that sense of physical tragedy, of the conflict between the weaknesses and strengths of the human form.

SINC's figure stands against an abstract background of back-and-forth arrows, all except one bright red arrow painted in muted colours. But they are not so abstract as to be unreal - the figure casts a definite (and harsh) shadow against them. All surfaces exhibit the same coarse painted texture, except for the figure's trousers and the upper block of the image, which are scoured rough, lending the whole a tactile but indistinct feeling. In front of the other elements, white shapes fall from the sky, their identity ambiguous - they could be raindrops, feathers or leaves. Finally, whatever they are, they reflect the same pallid white glow as comes from the bare torso and head of the figure, and the understated but by now emblematic rough lower-case text of 'hot water music' in the upper left.

The link above to 'The Old Guitarist' includes a modernist poem, possibly inspired by the painting, and written by American poet Wallace Stevens, 'The Man with the Blue Guitar'. The first six lines:

"The man bent over his guitar,

A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.

They said, “You have a blue guitar,

You do not play things as they are.”

The man replied, “Things as they are

Are changed upon the blue guitar."

I'd like to think that the painting and the poem both reflect something of Hot Water Music. What exactly though, I'm not sure.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Grails - Sound and Videos

(NSFW? It is Friday, though...)

Grails - 'Take Refuge', from Take Refuge In Clean Living, Important Records 2008. Click to stream (it's a long song, so give it time to buffer).

And play it fucking loud!

These are three albums well worth owning. They are Grails' latest recordings, from last year's Burning Off Impurities, the shorter Take Refuge In Clean Living from earlier this year, to the new album Doomsdayers' Holiday due for release next month. I wrote a good deal about Take Refuge in the second part of my August/Best of 2008 series, and I think that the track of the same name may be the best single thing they've written yet.

Before this soon-to-be trio of albums, was an intermediary stage of more experimental work resulting in Interpretations of Three Psychedelic Rock Songs From Around the World (Southern Records, 2005) and Black Tar Prophecies Vol. 1, 2 & 3 (Important Records, 2006) building on their first two albums of more string-based, traditional work, Redlight and The Burden of Hope (2004 and 2003 respectively) released on Neurot Recordings, the label founded by members of the experimental metal band Neurosis.

Grails are entirely an instrumental rock band, with a sound that has swung between clean post-rock (Burden of Hope, Redlight, and a lot of Burning Off Impurities) and a much heavier, distorted 'metal' sound (Black Tar, Take Refuge). Whether it is soft or loud, however, it has been absorbing increasing amounts of Eastern and psychedelic influences. They are a sort of throwback band to the melding of Eastern melodies and Western guitar rock of the 60s, but also as vast and as intense as any modern post-rock band from which they take a lot of their contemporary context. I've said that, in my opinion, Grails might be the best post-rock band around at the moment, although I do recognise that's rather a large claim to make. Mogwai, for example, are coming out with a very solid album The Hawk Is Howling about now, on top of the impressively Slinty Batcat EP, so it's their crown to lose I suppose. Which brings us neatly to Grails promising new album:

Doomsdayer's Holiday is available for pre-order from Temporary Residence Limited now (CD or 180 gram LP), and comes out on the 7th of October. There are two unique covers, the one shown above and a more demure one, so TRL are also offering a complete set with both versions of the LP and a free CD thrown in as well. If that's the kind of thing you're into.

The Grails Myspace has two songs from the album, 'Reincarnation Blues' and 'Predestination Blues' (obviously, they're going from Buddhism to Calvinism).


There are two sets here, one of music videos/visuals and one of live performances (all but the last come from The visuals show the blend of influences that make up Grails, from Eastern culture to the Western adaptation of that culture - fragments of old martial arts films, shots of Asian architecture - and in the case of of 'Take Refuge', ancient Greek civilisation. The live performances (both of the stand-out song from Burning Off Impurities, 'Silk Rd.', a name referring to, historically, the very link between East and West) show just how heavy the band are. Post-rock in the form of, say, Slint, is a movement which came out of hardcore - a fact which can be sublimated on record, but becomes more apparent when the music is flexed out in a live context.

'Take Refuge' (from Take Refuge In Clean Living)

'More Extinction' (from Burning Off Impurities)

'Silk Rd.' (from Burning Off Impurities) - live performance

'Silk Rd.' live @ the Bowery Ballroom - recorded by Blend77.

"Grails are not new-age. They are incredible-age."