Can Night Birds succeed without Brian Gorsegner‘s snotty vocals, which are so integral to the band’s sound? Is it possible to achieve that sense of horror and and b-movie grime without lyrics?
Shit yeah, it is. Granted, Gorsegner has a hand in playing synths on the dystopic sci-fi cut, “Agent Zero,” but the rest of the band handily rocks it pure surf style for the other three cuts on this EP.
It’s a nice chance to really focus on the fact that PJ Russo‘s guitar work is just lovely. The interplay between Russo’s guitar and Joe Keller‘s bass is what really makes this EP. Granted, it doesn’t get exceptionally complex at any point, but the songs are catchy. The same goes for drummer Ryan McHale, who — while he isn’t really called to do much more than standard timing — hits the skins with enough heft to give these songs a tiki-torch nighttime dance party feel.
We’ve talked before about the inherently forgiving nature of the vinyl format, and how those pops and hisses can hide a multitude of sins. In this case, Night Birds gain a lot of power from vinyl. Listening to this band via earbuds or laptop speakers is not the way to go. Initially, I was worried that their new LP on Grave Mistake, Born To Die In Suburbia, had some audio issues while streaming it at Bandcamp or listening on my iPod, because it sounded … thin.
The fact of the matter is that the surf rock aspect of Night Birds’ sound means that you really need to play this through stereo speakers. This is a band that benefits from something that allows nuances to shine through. I know what you’re saying: “They’re writing songs about Mick Foley. Where’s the nuance in that?”
If you’ve heard the streaming version of Night Birds‘ newest single, “Maimed for the Masses,” do yourself a favor and go buy the 7-inch. You’d think that surf-punk wouldn’t be harmed by audio compression for online play, but the physical version of the track just sounds so much more clean.
The song, an ode to “Mrs. Foley’s baby boy” (aka Cactus Jack, aka Dude Love, aka Mankind, aka New York Times bestselling author Mick Foley) is a surprisingly touching first-person perspective story of Foley’s hardcore history in the squared circle.
Tenement, repeatedly mentioned to me as one of the best bands currently playing, is coming to Kansas City on Monday, April 1, as part of a tour with Give and Night Birds. It should go without saying that I’m absurdly excited about this show, because it’s both early and cheap. Night Birds are an amazing live show, and their 20-30 minute set is worth the 40-minute trip both ways. Tenement’s also supposed to be one of those bands whose live show will make you an instant convert and fan.
The Other Side of Darkness
Night Birds know how to kick things off. “Demon Haunted World” is the perfect album opener: badass intro, building to a speedball of a song that slambangs into the second track, “Neon Gray,” without missing a step. I’ve listened to this album fairly much nonstop since it showed up, and I’m still not quite sure where one ends and the other begins. This interconnectedness demonstrates right off the bat that The Other Side of Darkness is assuredly an album, differentiating itself from the band’s prior singles with a thematic sense of purpose.
I was just on my way out of the house to run errands, when this popped up on my Facebook feed. I had to share it with you folks immediately.
The cover art to the new Night Birds full-length (coming August 16 on Grave Mistake), The Other Side of Darkness is immediately to your left, and you can listen to “Landfill Land” below. The track is a continuation of the surf-punk the quartet has become known for, but it’s harder, louder, and better-produced. The bass work on the track really comes through thanks to that production, and just makes the whole thing sound fantastic.
I couldn’t wait for The Other Side of Darkness as it was. Now, I’m foaming at the mouth.
Fresh Kills Vol. 1
Normally, we try and steer clear of CDs here in the basement, because … well, first of all, we don’t have a CD player down here. Running CDs through the PC speakers is fine a and dandy, but for full effect, we really like to rattle things off the desk and shelves with a run-through on the ol’ Frankenstereo.
Still, most of the material on this here Night Birds disc comes from previously released vinyl (specifically, the Art of the Underground single series #48, the Midnight Movies EP, and their self-titled 7-inch), as well as the band’s demo cassette. So, we felt honor-bound to let you know you can get everything the band has thus far released in one easy location, and get addicted before they release their first full-length, The Other Side of Darkness, later this summer. So get your save the date cards ready and make sure to remember this release.
New York Rules
Holy fucking crap. Despite my inveterate leanings against cassettes, here we are reviewing the New York Rules mixtape that Burn Books put out. Why? Well, first of all – they sent it to the Nuthouse, so it’s not like we had to pay for it. Secondly – it pretty much rules.
To listen to the damn thing, I had to take it to the day job with me. The cassette deck in our stereo upstairs is dead, and that’s the only one in the house. Thankfully, the bakery has a nice dual deck, in order to play the hundreds of cassettes accumulated over the decade and a half the place has been open.
(No Way Records)
B-movies have been a staple of punk going all the way back to the genre’s roots in rockabilly and garage. There are songs littering the landscape about ghouls, goblins, slashers, midnight marauders, highwaymen, flying saucers, et al. The Groovie Ghoulies and the Misfits made careers out of wring punk songs about horror movies, and now we’ve got Night Birds and their contribution, the Midnight Movies EP.
OMGWTFBBQ!!!! No Way Records repressed Chronic Sick’s classic self-titled 7-inch EP (aka the “Reagan Bands” single), as well as their 12-inch EP Cutest Band In Hardcore. Now, you can have a copy of some of the more essential lost classics of hardcore in your hands without having to pay hundreds of dollars for an original (even the bootlegs went for 50 or 60 bucks).
Of course, you’ve been able to download them via Killed By Death’s website for a couple years now. Take a listen right effing now to the self-titled EP and Cutest Band In Hardcore and then go buy them from the No Way webstore.
Give them some time to get it to you, however:
When ordering, remember we are a 2 person operation that is run while our record store is open. We get stuff done as FAST as we can, but PLEASE give your order at least 2 weeks to ship before you email us. We’re swamped.
And think, if you spend money with No Way, then they’ll make money and put out that new Night Birds EP, Midnight Movies, that much sooner.