Friday, November 21, 2008

New Beginnings: Part Two - Hoover, 'Side Car Freddie'/'Cable'

Today - November 21 - is No Music Day - which basically encourages people not to listen, make or otherwise involve themselves with music for one day of the year. I say, screw that. Not because I can't go without music, but because I can reserve the personal right to rationally and intelligently choose to listen to it ('it' being good music, of course) as and when I want.

You can read Bill Drummond's explanation for the idea here, which is essentially a rant of disillusionment with modern music. No Music Ireland gives as the first suggested reason "to reconnect with an art form through abstinence". How typical for a Catholic country - Joyce would be rocking slightly in his grave. So here's some music to rebelliously indulge in:

'Side Car Freddie'



This is Hoover's first 7", released in 1992 as Dischord 79.5/Hoover Limited 01. Their second, 'Return', was released shortly afterwards (FLEX says '92; T-DT-B says '93) as Dischord 86.5/Hoover Limited 02, and its three songs ('Return'/'Private'/'Dries') are included in the CD version of Lurid Traversal (1993, Dischord 89). Their split with Lincoln, released on Art Monk Construction, was released in 1993.

This 7" is quality stuff as well as an insight into the early sound of the band. 'Side Car Freddie' starts off with a soft - indeed, barely audible - sort of 'twinkle-emo' a bit like Indian Summer or Current (and as this is obviously a vinyl rip, you've got that little bit of crackle in there too) but when the rhythm section kicks in, you know that it's Hoover. There's an instant groove to it, and then the way 'side car freddie' is sung, just holding on at the end.

There are both typical and atypical elements to the song, at least from the perspective of their later work. The pounding drums and climbing riff accompanying the second chorus of 'it's under pressure' don't sound particularly usual, but they work into the structure or dynamic of a Hoover song.

The b-side is an - also partially atypical - version of 'Cable'. Rhythmically, it's (mostly) the same, but it lacks Erskine's trumpet as applied on the Lurid Traversal track. It gives it a sort of stripped-back, minimalist feel by comparison, emphasising the rather direct, though artfully complex beat to the song. Even without the assistance of the trumpet, there's still that violent, anarchic but completely well-placed moment of catharsis at the end of every crescendo.

'Cable' was the first Hoover song I ever heard - as I suppose might be true of quite a few people around after the fact, since it's featured on the 20 Years of Dischord compilation. It is an excellent track, and probably one of Hoover's most emphatic songs, but I never thought of it - mainly on account of the trumpet's prominence - as being particularly representative of the rest of the album. Hence, this version is quite interesting.

When looking for the cover for 'Side Car Freddie' - I'd be grateful if anyone could provide a larger version - I found an excellent blog by someone else who likes to write about Hoover (and Obama). Here's what he says about 'Side Car Freddie':

"AT the peak of their craft, Hoover created a hardcore punk sound that was engaging and very challenging. Most interestingly, their music conveyed a feeling of dire menace, but somewhat indirectly, so that the feeling was hard to place. The effect was cool, like a Jim Thompson novel set to a distorted punk score. Hoover’s first 7″ release, “Sidecar Freddie / Cable,” displayed this to great effect (particularly on the A-side), showing how quickly they outgrew the superficial Fugazi influence heard in their earliest songs."

(Hoover, Early and Late - Endlessly Rocking)

There's also another great post on Current. Both posts combine some good YouTube footage of live shows by the bands with some very thoughtful discussion of their music as a whole.

The 'new beginnings' part of this post, as well as being a bit of carried-over enthusiasm, is I guess fairly obviously a reference to this being me essentially getting to the 'start' of the Hoover Genealogy Project, in terms of recorded output (the Endlessly Rocking post above also includes the video of Hoover's first show, if you haven't seen it already). Looking back at the first post on the reunion EP, I see that it has been just under a year since I started. It's still unfinished, which I guess should be another reason for 'new beginnings' - June of 44* (a band who, unfortunately, have never come naturally to me) and Regulator Watts as well as some of the further reaches of the family tree, and maybe even some kindred spirits as well (perhaps obliquely - I want to follow Blend77 again and do a post on The Mercury Program). For now though, let's stick to the roots.

* While browsing through Ape Mummy's blogroll, I found a blog called captain's dead with a live show from June of 44 recorded in Louisville in 1995. You can stream and download the individual songs.

And in a furtherance of the 'new beginnings' theme, Matt from Time Isn't On My Side has taken it upon himself to start a June of 44 Genealogy Project, kicking off with the minimal, folksy post-rock of Rex's self-titled album from 1995. Look forward to more explorations of the 'Louisville Sound' on there.

** Regulator Watts is sort of the opposite problem to June of 44 - so much of their essentially guitar-driven sound is immediately accessible to me, searingly complex, atonal, and discordant though it is, but as a whole I find their work - either The Aesthetic of No-Drag or The Mercury CD - difficult to follow. I think perhaps I'll deal with both releases simultaneously, and see if my face melts off in the process.


josephlovesit said...

I heard so much music today it was disgusting. The place I intern at is finishing up their annual holiday album that gets sent to their clients. So all day, I heard people producing and mixing cover versions of "So This Is Christmas", etc. So much for No Music Day...

Very excited for more Hoover, as always.

josephlovesit said...

"Side Car Freddie" is really great. I love that slightly-discordant guitar sound. The build to the end is moving as well. I hear a lot of Mackaye in his voice on this track.

Also--and excuse if I missed previous mention of it--will you eventually be discussing the self-titled Hoover EP from 1993. I've seen it on Rate Your Music (link) and am curious how it is. The cover is really really cool too!

Matt said...

This single is great. Great post as usual, and a great analysis of the music. I have to say I think the Hoover Genealogy Project is a terrific idea and that it is truly fascinating.

If you want any help or any music for the June of 44 portions of your project, let me know. I have all of their stuff and I've listened to it frequently and thoroughly. Also, and I know this doesn't fit into the Hoover Genealogy Project, but I have a bunch of records that fit into the June of 44 Genealogy, as well as some knowledge of all the history. Rodan, Shipping News, Rachel's, Rex, Codeine, etc etc etc. If you're ever interested, let me know.

gabbagabbahey said...

joseph - I think what you're linking to is - though it doesn't say it - the 'Return' 7". Since it has three songs that makes it an EP, and they're all on the CD version of Lurid Traversal. I'm pretty sure that is the cover art, too. FLEX says it came out in '92.

matt - fire away... maybe you should start a June of 44/Fred Erskine project yourself. I have a second-hnad vinyl copy of In the Fishtank Vol. 6 that I might get around to posting some time, but I'm unlikely to be tackling the rest anytime soon. I have most or all of their records to listen to, but I'm just not very involved in them.

Matt said...

You know, I was kind of thinking that last night, as it would give me some focus and some limits within which to formulate more and better posts, but I didn't want to tread onto your territory.

I definitely sympathize with your hesitance to dive into June of 44. I had to force myself to listen thoroughly to Fishtank, for some reason it just didn't make a good impression on me the first few times. They can be really hard to submerge yourself in, especially some of the Jo44 side-projects, like HiM.

But yeah, I think I will start up a June of 44 Genealogy Project, thank you for the endorsement.

josephlovesit said...

Thanks for the info. I guess I have heard it after all, haha.

gabbagabbahey said...

matt - hands off Regulator Watts though, I still want to do that! :)

best of luck with it, as I've see you've already started.

everybody -

Anna said...

Two great tracks - thanks for posting. No other band makes intense, brooding dissonance quite like Hoover. :)

Matt said...

Haha I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say on Regulator Watts, don't worry, I won't touch it.

And thanks for the support, I really appreciate it.

cretin said...

there was a 'no music day'? why wasn't i briefed?? i must have looked such a fool on that date in question

Hugo said...

hey. real nice stuff in here! I want to ask you a favor if you don't mind. I'm looking for these and if you have them please upload them it's real good stuff:
- Reconstruction Compilation (Compilation with 90's french emo/hardcore bands)
- Undone - The Other Side
- Education Compilation
- Merel/Iconoclast split

Thnx for your attention and cheers!

Oh, I almost forgot this may interest you:
- Zann/Burial Year split (with covers of Unbroken and CHOKEHOLD)
- Phoenix Bodies/La Quiete split

gabbagabbahey said...

hugo - the only one of those I have is the Merel/Iconoclast split.
if the link in this post doesn't work for whatever reason, let me know and I can up it:

Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa