Monday, November 26, 2007

Fuck This Band (Mclusky singles)

they swear too much


Last Friday week, I went to see Fight Like Apes in Whelan's, Dublin. Fantastic gig, really good show. I would find it difficult to describe Fight Like Apes; kinda like The Yeah Yeah Yeahs meet Dan Deacon. Throw in a few words like punk, electro, etc., or just click the link above and have a listen. Two minutes of your time.

Yet while Fight Like Apes themselves were phenomenal - that is, their own material, of which there is only 2 EPs or otherwise, 8 songs, of - a real highlight of the gig was their cover of Mclusky's 'Lightsaber Cocksucking Blues'.

I had read, in an interview the band did with the college paper, that some of their influences were 'Mclusky, Pavement and At The Drive In'. Of course, that wasn't meant to be in any way exhaustive or encompassing, and Fight Like Apes probably don't sound like what you would first think of upon combining those three bands. To be pedestrianly accurate, it would be better to pencil in the Pixies before Mclusky, since both they and Fight Like Apes, I reckon, consciously take a lot from their music.

Both my friend and I, who had gone to the gig with me, were pretty stoked to hear this song. It is the first track off Mclusky Do Dallas and, really, it changed the way I thought about music. 'Lightsaber Cocksucking Blues' made noise cool for me. That white-hot sonic anarchy, the complete abandon of scatological lyrics and eye-popping vocals, it took me out of any disillusionment I may have been having about the ability of punk rock to physically and musically move me. Naturally - and I assume this is the same for most people - my tastes have hardened over time, grown less delicate - but for me Mclusky was a quantum leap, a paradigm shift (perhaps, a la Dilbert, one without a clutch).

Given what the song represents to me, to see it performed live was amazing - and by an excellent band in their own right, in their oh-so-different but reflexive Mcluskyite style; so I am determined to bring this band to Hardcore for Nerds again, because if this isn't hardcore, I don't know what is.

fuck this blog

But before I get to what I am about to post, a few words about this site. Fuck This Band marks the fortieth post on my music blog, and a little over three months of 'discordant suburban whiteboy blues' (thanks, sweetbabyjaysus - jay - for the encouragement, and for all the kind, wise and literate words then and since; thanks of course to blend for showing me that this kind of thing could be done in the first place [and for graciously allowing me to copy his layout and style, pretty much] as well, thanks to everybody who has commented, linked me, hell, anybody and everybody who reads this thing... go raibh maith agaibh, slán agus sláinte). It's been fun; hopefully it will remain so.

Yesterday I found this blog - Jimmy Buttons - which had linked the You Made Me Realise Post from below as part of his weekly round-up of mp3 blogs. Something else this guy wrote caught my eye:

"i'm not going to link to blogs that don't spend time on quality posts. it's one thing to not have any valid info about a band, but to create a blog for posting music without as much as a few words about your posts. that's just lazy!!"

That really connected with me, because that is the ethos of this blog. Quality is something I strive for, but it is an effort I profoundly enjoy. My attempts at writing, creativity, humour (!), description, lyricism and exposition of wonderful music, they form the heart of this blog for me. The artwork, the dl links, the pacing of titles, are like the surrounding body: beautiful to look at - of course - tangible and enjoyable, but unable to survive without the core.

I won't try to drag out the metaphor any further, but you, the readers, fit in that scheme somewhere too. To, consequently, drag in something I've been learning a bit about these days, this blog is a discourse. I make the decision to post a record, not just to satisfy my own likes, but to see perhaps what people think of it. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, so I tend to hop around the various genres and permutations of 'punk' - that ever-mutable term - which I listen to. It's nice, therefore, to know what in particular interests you.

My agenda is neither entirely obvious nor ulterior, and from time to time I do have a clear mental list of what to post (usually reflected in the 'Coming Soon' list at right). Hardcore for Nerds, not suprisingly, has been a process of evolution, as I have discovered and accomodated to what can be done in this space. It still needs input - which is where you come in:

Leave a comment; join the discourse of sounds.


Finally, on to the music. Like I said, I'm posting Mclusky again because I think they are fucking hardcore. So I'll keep this loud, fast, and short. Well, Mclusky will provide the loudness and speed; I'll just keep the review brief.

Firstly, 'To Hell With Good Intentions' is probably the best-known of all Mclusky songs. The keynote piece of their classic album, it received a lot of airplay back in the day and still gets the odd spin. It's actually a little slower than the average Mclusky song, even a little staid, but it still rocks. This single has three other songs with it, so plenty of exercise for those ears:

Mclusky - To Hell With Good Intentions

Secondly, 'That Man Will Not Hang' is my favourite of all their singles, mainly, as you will see, on account of one of the b-sides. The title song is off their third and final album, The Difference Between You and Me Is That I'm Not On Fire; incidentally, all their b-sides are available in the one disc in their Mcluskyism anthology, along with a first 'best-of' disc. Anyway, because I like this so mcuh I wrote a review for it a long time ago, which I intended to post on eMusic but, for some reason, didn't:

"“That Man Will Not Hang” is an ideal single - one of those typical Mclusky songs which combines humour and heavy guitars. The first B-side, “The All Encompassing Positive”, starts off very Pixies-like with the one heavy drum beat, over and over – and then there’s a sudden halt, and the song erupts into wailing, all-encompassing, high-pitched guitar noise. Just amazing. The second, “The London Whine Company”, a demo, is again quite Pixies-like, starting off slow and then quickly accelerating as the vocals fall apart into frantic shouts. Basically, this is top-notch Mclusky – the band at their musical apex."

Yeah - what I said:

Mclusky - That Man Will Not Hang

Friday, November 23, 2007

My Bloody Valentine - You Made Me Realise

My Bloody Valentine are the archetypal shoegaze[1] band. Their ethereal, shimmering sound has not only been imitated countless times, but forms the basis for many comparisons.[2] Loveless,[3] their landmark (and as it turned out, roadblock) album marked a modern masterpiece and the culmination of the band’s distinctive contribution to indie music.

I say culmination because Loveless came with a trail of undoubtedly, but only marginally, lesser releases.[4] Although the stories of the massive expense of the album’s recording are likely apocryphal or at least exaggerated, it was by most accounts a tortuous process: with Kevin Shields playing the role of Torquemada, shaping and fashioning the layered epic of Loveless.[5] It was the apex of their sound, shoegaze taken to its farther extension. Purer and more focused, yet hazier and more impenetrable than that which came before it, it was from at least one artistic dimension an end for My Bloody Valentine, the final coup de grace.

Undeniable though its claim to mastery of the form may be, Loveless does not quite stand alone and the preceding recordings have much to recommend them. Personally, the album in isolation was quite enough to get me hooked on MBV’s sound, but for some shoegaze is a capricious entity.[6] Perhaps, and this is a valid point, listeners prefer the more basic spread of Isn’t Anything to the stratospheric character of Loveless; a relative earthiness to counterpoint the final rarefied sculptings of the 1991 swansong.[7] In any case, the earlier My Bloody Valentine is comparatively more mundane – only comparatively, mind you – than its later transcendent form.

You could hardly call MBV punk, yet their earlier efforts are more straightforwardly rocky, not entirely the blissed-out cloudscapes that they are usually associated with.[8] Hence I present you with the You Made Me Realise EP, whose title track features a heavy melodic breakdown in the midst of the characteristic shoegaze-y elements; indeed it kicks off with the same pounding rhythm, sounding somewhat like something Shotmaker[9] could have written. A little frantic, a little high-strung, a little piece of indie music momentarily washed-up on the shores of hardcore:


[1] Def: "Shoegazing (also known as shoegaze or shoegazer; practitioners referred to as shoegazers) is a genre of alternative rock that emerged from the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. It lasted until the mid 1990s, peaking circa 1990 to 1991... the musicians in these bands often maintained a motionless performing style, standing on stage and staring at the floor while playing their instruments; hence, the idea that they were gazing at their shoes. The shoegazing sound featured extensive use of guitar effects, and indistinguishable vocal melodies that blended into the creative noise of the guitars. Few shoegazers were dynamic performers or interesting interviewees, which prevented them from breaking through into markets in the United States" -
[2] Asobi Seksu and Jesu come to mind, both as examples of conscious imitation and of imposed comparison. Kind of at opposite ends of the ‘nice’ spectrum, though. I haven't listened to Asobi Seksu, although they do get some good radio time; this limited issue 7" is pretty nifty. However, I don't really warm to Jesu (see [6] below).
[3] My Bloody Valentine, Loveless. Creation Records, 1991. (Hey, blend/sbj - Harvard style footnotes!)
[4] Principally the full-length Isn’t Anything, the Feed With Me Kiss and You Made Me Realise EPs, but also the Glider and Tremolo EPs which took songs from Loveless.
[5] For further reading – seriously, this is very detailed and interesting - see this Florida music student’s dissertation on the album:
[6] Capricious, adj. – from the Italian caprice, lit. ‘hedgehog’; see my previous post on Envy’s Insomniac Doze (Sonzai/Rock Action, 2006) for a discussion of shoegaze and its accessibility.
[7] My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything. Creation Records, 1988; in its time as influential as Loveless but in places lacks the latter’s focus and cohesiveness. Similar artistic style and layout.
[8] A key critical debate on Loveless is whether it is best described as ‘druggy sex’ or ‘sexy drugs’. There is a general consensus, however, that it approximates to the ‘sound of angels fucking in a pink haze’. See here:
[9] Shotmaker, Complete Discography 1993-1996. Troubleman Unlimited, 2000; seminal hardcore/emo band from Ottawa. Seriously recommended is their split EP with Maximillian Colby; see also Three Penny Opera 1 2.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Battles - 'Tonto'

Battles are definitely one of the more interesting bands around these days, and although the album Mirrored is in itself outside my self-imposed remit, I have already posted the excellent video for 'Atlas', as well as some semblance of a live review. So imagine my (pleasant) surprise when I found out today that there has been, apparently for some time, a video out for another song from that album, 'Tonto'.

I came across when browsing on Pitchfork, so allow me to use their description:

"...There's not much to explain about "Tonto"-- which swells up grimly and dramatically like NFL promo music-- though chops-watchers could probably find plenty to geek out about in the mathematical, almost proggy precision of the guitars, bass, keyboards and, driving it all, John Stanier's drums. However, the video for "Tonto" keeps us in the dark, blinking with each fleeting note. You can barely see the band locked in the interplay of jazz, heavy rock, and avant-pop that makes Mirrored such a fist-pumping joy. As with Battles' earlier "Atlas" video, this is a performance clip worth watching more than once, until the night sky fades and the sun comes up on the track."

Can a night sky fade? Anyway, while 'Atlas' was about mirrors (naturally enough), bright lights, and performing in a glass box, 'Tonto' is about strobe lighting, darkness, sharp rocks and performing in the desert:

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Van Pelt - Sultans of Sentiment

Only connect

The Van Pelt – ‘Nanzen Kills a Cat’

"There it is, plain and simple.

It destroyed itself without any of my slander.

This is the lunacy by which we kneel.

This is the doublespeak by which we kill.

This is the inertia that keeps tradition feared.

This is the absurdity by which we walk barefoot with shoes on our heads.

Ponder this to get nearer to Nothing.

On top of the world, think about it, there's Nothing.

An unseasoned meal, monotone spirits, routine homily.

Nothing has never been clearer.

So kill a cat to keep logic at bay, then eat my body's finest and fell me how it tastes.

Is it Nothing too? Does it stink like Nothing? Does it poison like Nothing?"

‘Nansen Cuts the Cat in Two’ is the name of a koan from the ‘Gateless Gate’ collection, found here in the Zen Flesh, Zen Bones anthology of Zen literature. A koan is something in between a riddle and a parable. Seemingly nonsensical or meaningless, the purpose of the koan is to aid enlightenment by liberating the mind from traditional intellectual constraints, through the sudden realization of its meaning. In another way, a koan is like a joke – it has a punchline of sorts, and naturally it loses much of its meaning if it is explained rationally.

In this sense, the commentary is both unusual and slightly distracting, if in itself enigmatically informative. Hence, the proper approach would be to read the first part of the koan below, and then await sudden realization, as if one was awaiting the bliss of enlightenment in meditation:

"Nansen saw the monks of the eastern and the western halls fighting over a cat. He seized the cat and told the monks: ‘If any of you say a good word, you can save the cat’. No one answered. So Nansen boldly cut the cat in two pieces. That evening Joshu returned and Nansen told him about this. Joshu removed his sandals and, placing them on his head, walked out. Nansen said : ‘If you had been there, you could have saved the cat.’

Mumon’s comment: Why did Joshu put his sandals on his head? If anyone answers this question, he will understand exactly how Nansen enforced the edict. If not, he should watch his own head.

Had Joshu been there,

He would have enforced the edict oppositely,

Joshu snatches the sword,

And Nansen begs for his life."

This is what Chris Leo has to say about the song and the koan himself in an interview from this site Only Angels Have Wings

“Nantzen is of course not just a koan. I would never just retell someone elses story in song. In fact, I barely retold it in the song. I even think it's not necessary to be familiar with the koan to get the song. Maybe I even mussed things up by delving into a discussion of the koan at all! Uh oh, back up and remove everything you know about Nantzen and start afresh. Yes, that the only way. There it is.”

Finally, you should definitely listen to the Van Pelt – but if you like this, you should be already listening to Lungfish. It’s futile to find comparisons for that band, but there is a similarity with the Van Pelt in the hypnotic, repetitive and absorbingly simple sound. They both delve into Eastern philosophy, too; in the case of Lungfish, more Taoism than Zen Buddhism, but it’s all connected anyway:

"Do you believe in liberation?

Can you understand liberation?

Are you afraid of liberation?

I am afraid of liberation

I admit I’m afraid."

(‘Non Dual Bliss’ from Talking Songs For Walking)

The Van Pelt - Sultans of Sentiment

(Album picture and dl link taken from Zen and the Art of Face Punching. Hope you don’t mind, Blend! Unfortunately mediafire is being a bit troublesome this weekend... nothing more, I hope)

Fight Like Apes - 'Lend Me Your Face'

Apparently this video is part of a regular colloboration between the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and various young Irish bands. That's what Dave Fanning told me, anyway... cool song, cool video and I'm seeing them live tonight. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Three Penny Opera - 2GTEG25H2G4503344

Three Penny Opera, named after a Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill musical, were the band which formed directly after the demise of the Canadian hardcore/emo group Shotmaker. Shotmaker, whose split with Maximillian Colby I have posted here (and referenced several times already), are one of the loudest and most uncompromising of all the 90's emo bands. Their signature sound - of playing "rocked-out emo like they were pissed as hell and wanted desperately to play fast but somehow couldn't", as Fourfa puts it - is very much continued in Three Penny Opera, with perhaps some better songwriting skills. Four songs, ten minutes, and one rather odd title.

Kicking off with a low hiss and a barrage of drumming, ‘New Kids Gang’ is nothing if not a raging, full-on electrical storm. While not quite as terrifyingly heavy as some of Shotmaker’s stuff, Three Penny Opera aren’t far off. In other words, they don’t mess with the formula much. ‘1,000 Miles’ adds in a few more characteristic breakdowns while the singer yells “It’s funny things just change” ("I remember smiling, laughing… and I remember, screaming"). ‘Separate Directions’ takes similar steps, bringing the guitar line down to throbbing, ponderous depths in a way which kind of remind me of the Swing Kids’ '43 Seconds’. Finally, ‘Observation’ takes off into frantic, high-pitched guitar riffs which puncture the wall of noise, periodically, like the calls of Sirens.

Shotmaker/Three Penny Opera are emo in the way that is a little bit different from, and a little bit similar to, a lot of the usual bands. Radin’s description still stands for Three Penny Opera – whether they are more or less pissed-off in their new Brechtian guise is for you, the audience, to decide. It’s the infuriating, explosive tension between blistering speed and achingly slow rhythm which defines these two bands. It is in that conflict that their art emerges; in the moment of poise between loud and fast, there’s a certain immanent beauty to be found. It’s not quite Zen Enlightenment, that propelling balance, but rather an instantaneous Quality of hardcore. Spiritual, no; mystical, perhaps; intangible, probably; musical, definitely.

The whole sonic aesthetic is so brutalised, battered and twisted in all of these songs that they clearly belong in the hardcore emo end of things, with bands like Mohinder, Swing Kids and, indeed, Max Colby. But Shotmaker, and even more so in the case of Three Penny Opera, are neither so fast nor so sparse as such bands. Shotmaker’s wall of noise was always something else; on this Three Penny Opera recording it seems the guitars are so loud and high that they become continuously lost in static, formless and unrecognizable. Maybe this band desperately wanted to play shoegaze, yet could never leave the hardcore sound: maybe they were just a band lost in a punk haze.

Three Penny Opera - 2GTEG25H2G4503344

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rancid - Let's Go

What do Rancid albums and Star Trek films have in common?

They both alternate in quality, with all the odd-numbered ones being a little off. Rancid s/t, mostly, is the band just finding their sound, Rancid V, is, well, Rancid trying to be the hardcore band they’re patently not, and …And Out Come The Wolves, while generally considered their best, personally seems to me to be the poor relation of its follow-up. Whereas Let’s Go, Life Won’t Wait and Indestructible are all excellent albums in their own different ways. Disagree with me, by all means, but I’ll have to call you a Trekkie for it.

Extending and bending the analogy a little further, let’s discuss the Rancid ‘look’.

Studded leather, obtrusively altered facial and cranial appearances, big boots and heavy clothing – all in the circumstances of belligerent, heavily masculine and tribalistic attitudes of bravado. Sound like Klingons to you? Have a look:


You’ll notice the squeal of guitar feedback at the start of the song (the first on the record) just to let you know this isn’t a Green Day album. From there on in, it’s a reassuring blast of traditional punk anarchy…

"Nihilistic feelings moving/If you try really hard you’ll see right through them/Nihilism..."

To be serious, this is a really good album. It is 23 very catchy songs, noisy, destructive and full of hooks – all propelled by the very notable bass lines of Matt Freeman. Loud and energetic, with more than a veneer of pop-punk – Billie Joe Armstrong was close to becoming Rancid’s second guitarist, and has writing credits on one of the album’s best songs, ‘Radio’. It’s also quite angry, with a strong element of social realism in the lyrics, with songs like ‘St. Mary’ and ‘Harry Bridges’, or ‘Dope Sick Girl’ and ‘Side Kick’.

Let’s Go can be favourably compared to, say, the first Clash album, but it’s also a musical statement of its own time, blending East Bay punk-pop with the sounds of third-wave ska, fourth-generation punk rock and even 80’s hardcore – this is a Californian album, after all – and all with the ‘pop sensibility’ which made them stars. Maybe it can even be compared to the Ramones – after all, it is called ‘Let’s Go’, echoing (perhaps with a more political overtone) the cry to exuberance of that particular song. Anyway, Rancid is Rancid, love ‘em or like ‘em.

So here’s another of the best songs on the album ‘Salvation’, a slightly slower-tempo Armstrong vehicle (Lars is mostly in the chorus) about down-and-outs, urban poverty, and that great punk stalwart, lyrics with the word ‘baby’ in them:


"Come on baby won’t you show me what you got/I want your salvation"

(It might be obvious, but I don’t actually know anything about either street punk or Star Trek. Just so you know.)

Rancid – Let’s Go

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bouncing Souls vs. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

A brief digression from music and literature into art; I wrote up Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance over at Steady Diet of Books, but I thought that it needed something a little extra.

Zen is axiomatic in rejecting the value of writing, and of verbal communication in general, and it lets art fill the gap to a certain extent (communication of feelings through ink and watercolour painting, for example, although haikus perform the same function). In Pirsig's terms, art is the exhibition of dynamic Quality - or what we might call aesthetics.

The Bouncing Soul's Anchors Aweigh is probably their most aesthetic album yet. I called it earlier a punk-pop record which "veered towards comparative 'seriousness', with broad Springsteenesque brushstrokes, and was overall a poignant album with, at times, an unusually overt political message". I can post it up if it's requested, but I already have its immediate predecessor up. What it's got to do with ZMM is, honestly, not much, but it has got these excellent pictures of a motorcycle road trip. More transcontinental transcendence, as it were. And somebody's got to keep the counterculture going these days, too...

Don't forget that you are born free/It's better to die on your feet than live on your knees

('Born Free')

Harvest moon in a desert sky/making good time as we pass it by/where ever this road takes us/it was meant to be

('Highway Kings')

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska

I saw her standing on her front lawn just twirlin her baton/ Me and her went for a ride sir and ten innocent people died...

I've seen this album described, half-jokingly, as Springsteen's emo record. If you've already heard Nebraska, you might just understand that. Emo like Moss Icon at their most repetitively circular and dirge-like, perhaps, or Hoover in one of their most pyschologically anguished ultra-quiet build-ups. You see, Bruce brings a lot of emotion to this recording, but it's not the heart-on-sleeve, slightly melancholy exuberance of Born to Run - instead, it's a catalogue of despair and brooding, incipient sadness. Often, it's not merely 'eerily' quiet, it's goddamn scarily quiet.

Mister state trooper, please don't stop me...

In fact, there's a different niche of punk that this album takes its influence: Suicide. Springsteen was a big fan of the no-wave New York minimalist duo, and presumably still is, since they continue to put out some very good stuff. Not only is their a sonic affinity audible in the sparse, empty arrangement of the album as whole, but one song - 'State Trooper' - is a direct homage to classic '77 Suicide. The same hollowed-out motorycle-engine beats, the same tense vocal delivery. It's not quite as terrifying as 'Frankie Teardrop', but it comes close.

I got debts that no honest man can pay...

If Kerosene 454 is a "temple" to the DC guitar sound, Nebraska is equally - if inversely - monumental to the Springsteen sound. Listen to 'Atlantic City' and it follows the familiar curve, except the song stays mostly subdued and hollowly, painfully empty. Springsteen always was a Dylanite, and the harmonica is prominent here, but it sounds like a voice from another room. The folksy singing and the lulling, melodic guitar licks are there too, but hovering just above silence. The voice or the harmonica swells, a haunting backing vocal intrudes, the guitar strumming gains some insistence, but still 9/10ths of this recording still sounds like lonely emptiness. Nebraska is a cold, black quietness largely uninterrupted by anything other than deeply human pain.

Well now, everything dies, baby, that's a fact/But maybe everything that dies someday comes back...

Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska

Thursday, November 1, 2007

AFI - Black Sails in the Sunset

'Tis the season to be gloomy - so I thought I'd celebrate with some black, theatrically introverted goth-punk. I was thinking I'd post this up on Hallowe'en night, but I was busy (playing badminton, if you want to know) and anyway AFI have another record to that effect (the All Hallows EP). Today is All Soul's Day, so that should be appropriately gothic.

This isn't about any particular festival, however, as much as it is about the autumnal mood altogether. The clocks are set back, and the afternoons are darker. The weather is colder and windier. It's autumn, or, as you Americans quaintly call it, 'fall'.

I have a very clear memory of listening to this album while walking home from school, through a dark field, wrapped in a coat and a pair of headphones. Another Discman(TM) moment. I've always been a middling AFI fan - I got Art of Drowning, then Sing the Sorrow, and finally this album (plus the EP mentioned above). Anything after or before never particularly interested me, while I can find something of particular interest in any of those three albums. Art of Drowning is, hands-down, a plain good punk record; Sing the Sorrow, at least when I listened to it first, was an interesting exercise in experimentation and the more expansive kind of sound. Black Sails is, however, the album I turn to most often.

For all the overwrought theatrics, gothic affectations and sing-along masochism, AFI was a damn good hardcore punk band (What they are now is not something I really want to talk about - and what they were before was not, in my opinion, very listenable!) At least when you wanted something accessible, melodic and easily available. AFI was my emo before I discovered emo - I even wrote a creative writing piece under the influence of this album:

'Autumn Sunset'

The sky. Burns.

Blood-red sun glows on the horizon, below clouds rimmed with crimson. No silver linings but the tint of fire on every one. The canvas of the sky painted in vivid shades of orange pinks stretches overhead- from deep, rich colour in the west it fades to faint wispy smudges in the east. Darkness comes closer with every minute.

A gust of wind carries past a flurry of leaves. Each one different, sanguine red mixed with saffron and brown. The last few hang frail, delicate, dying from a tree that is just a dark silhouette against a fiery backdrop.

Hold a single leaf in your hand. Dry and crinkled, like tinder, fuel for the fire of autumn. Weakened by age it was once soft and green now it is just a shade of summer. Its leafy flesh is dried and ripped, tattered and torn, just a fragile skeleton.

The dimmed sun retreats behind the skyline. The black and grey of night fills the air. Colours fade in one last display, the fire quenched as it submits to the cold of night. Long shadows now cover all the ground as the light is gone.

With each passing, the setting sun departs earlier as winter comes. Nights lengthen and the sun sets in the afternoon. No more drama of colour as the trees stand bare. Above the sky is now obscured by grey cloud, monochrome and lifeless. Autumn sunsets come to an end as we wait for the world to grow again.

It was pretty derivative; actually, it was mostly a pastiche of the lyrical stylings of Black Sails, amongst other AFI records. But it was also meant to convey the atmosphere of that dark field, and of the season as a whole. To this day, this album still slightly sounds to me like it's being played in the dark - there's a sense of space, and of organic tension. It's got a good beat, too.

AFI - Black Sails in the Sunset

PS : If I haven't convinced you of the merits of AFI, and you want something a little more authentic to rage out to in the long evenings, how about some Reach Out/Honeywell ? - "a little taste of brutality under these red November skies" - thanks to sweetbabyjaysus.