Hurry Up Shotgun release their second album tonight, 10/7/2011. It’s self-titled. The show is at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco. If you had any sense, you’d be there. Actually you should be there even if you don’t have any sense. Because it is a great album and they are a great band.
There are so few bands I know out there that truly grow. Sure they’ll try new things, maybe change, but actual growth as a band is somewhat rare. One of them is Oakland’s Hurry Up Shotgun. One of the very, very few bands that I’ve personally witness getting consistently more vital, better, and growing in stature, skill and presence over the years. It’s worth paying attention to, and I don’t say that lightly as I have played on bills with them for years. Mostly in my bands and for 4 or 5 shows, *IN* their band. A fleeting moment that still confuses the bite size friendship of the Internet age even now.
I’m rarely a sideman in other people’s bands, mostly because most people never ask, probably because they’re afraid I’ll take over the operation and instigate some level of order to their soft-bellied Tom Foolery. Something that could be a concern, considering my reputation for Control Enthusiasm.
I think you should play it again, but try to suck less this time. Also, when are we loading in? Is there anybody at the helm of this ship? Hello?!
I said yes.
After all this was Hurry Up Shotgun. One of the few bands from the SF Bay area I can truly say that I love that is doing something vital and fantastic. At some point I was asked to fill in for departing guitarist Will Funner. It’d be more of a question of shoring up the awesome bits, giving it my heart and soul and just being along for the ride with a band I truly love full of people that I truly love. No problem. So I did that. Part of that was being the Chuck Dukowski and putting it together, partly just driving them, partly bringing the aforementioned thrang, and part of that ended up being the bullshit detector that I have a somewhat deserved reputation for.
“Austin, I love you, and I love what you do, but please turn that god damned amp down. Yes, right now. No, I am not kidding. Yes, it is too loud.”
AUSTIN! TURN YOUR DING DANG AMP DOWN, EVERYBODY IS LEAVING!
So I did that tour, and I had a blast doing it, playing Austin’s songs and rocking with all of those guys. There was faltering on their part before hand, and I think they’d be the first ones to admit it. It was a band without a solid foundation anymore that could go either way. I daresay that I brought a bit of fun and sweat and clank to the proceedings that served the songs well. Doing dual backup vocals with Craig and such. It felt good. And more over, it worked because the songs and the band were really good. And you know what? It made me really miss playing guitar, and that’s another story. But this one is theirs, so let’s stay on task, shall we?
After I left and went back to my passion and my band. They decided to stay a three piece, a choice that surprised me at first. But something had changed; they had become a stronger more purposeful unit. I match makered them with Toshi Kasai from Big Business. Producer of the Melvins, Helmet and a ton of other stuff, and a fellow traveller of limiting pointless shenanigans and general silly flippant non-productive behavior. It was a George Martin/Beatles style collaboration/pairing and they made a fantastic record.
Do yourself a favor; push the “play” button now as you read this:
just do it, turn off the Pandora… mute turntable.fm, Pause your Rdio or Mog. Come back to that episode of Marc Maron’s podcast or This American Life later.
Go on, I’ll wait.
Do you think I am fucking around?
I am not fucking around.
Hit play on that button please.
So this record is great, one of the best of 2011, which is saying a lot because it’s been a great year for records. It’s the crazy thing where it’s an awesome record, but it’s kind of hard to sum up to. It used to be easy: Hot Snakes + Husker Du. Check please. Not so much this record. There’s crazy vocal harmony stuff that I really didn’t think Austin was capable of. No dis to him, it’s just a quantum leap forward. It’s melodically more mature, a terrible word, but sure, mature. I guess I should have known when rock impresario, drummer and photographer extraordinaire Shannon Corr was actually rendered relatively speechless at trying to describe it before I heard. The only person less likely to be at a loss of words is myself.
As it said in the V and A world: Shit is legit.
So yeah, blown away.
Austin, Craig and Adam, you did something wonderful.
Ok, not only have I been a peer, friend, fan, and hired gun of and for these dudes for a long time. I guess you could say that I’m their “label guy” We have a sort of loose non-monetary affiliation. I help them along with things that they are not so hot at, most of which involves me being a persistent force of advocacy for awesome things. As much as I loathe it, a lot of the thankless grunt work comes a little easier for me than some. I’ll tell you this: you can call it a label if I get some resources. Until then it’s a collective of piss, vinegar, adrenaline, force of will and a dogged determination to bring the awesome as hard as we can. With a cool logo.
Because music should hit you like a Seismic Wave
So if you are the kind of person that will immediately dismiss a passionate testimonial because of a loose professional affiliation. Click on. I’m sure there’s plenty of other middling hackery out there trying to pass itself off as journalism out there that is waiting for that click through. Otherwise… just deal with it, because none of that is as important as the fact that they made a remarkable record. I mean REMARKABLE. As in, I listen to it all the time and play it for other people constantly.
Sure, there are great tunes like Paths and Watermelon Sugar. Stuff I’ve heard them play for forever, and could play along with if I thought about for a second. But there’s also stuff like Little Pieces that sounds a bit like The Police (sans bullshit and tantric sex), Gravity, which is just fucking epic, and Girl From CA… Which is… well… remarkable.
“after all the fires burn out
this will keep you warm and sound
after all the fires burn out the clouds will clear up and we’ll see STARS….”
If you took the time to listen to the song, than you know what I’m talking about. Otherwise, don’t bother to look me in the eye.
That’s the kind of song that makes non-music people stop what they are doing and go “hey cool!”, and also the kind of song that makes us rock and roll lifer types go. “Hmmm… Let’s pay attention to this, even if it’s just to dissect why this is awesome and learn from it.”
It’s a good record dudes and dudettes. And I’m not the kind of “professional liker” that loves everything. Far from it. I don’t advocate as passionately as I used to because I got sick of being ignored. It’s a character weakness on my part, but I’m not as well suited to the facetwittumblrplus world as some. For one thing, brevity is not my strong suit.
I’m going to say this, you should listen and consider purchasing to their record, and I mean… REALLY listen. Digital files, cds if that is your jam, or… wait for the deluxe limited edition vinyl. It is worth your damn time and you will be better for it, and you are supporting one of the best bands you’ve never heard.
So congratulations Hurry Up Shotgun, you and your cumbersome nonsensical name have made an excellent record that will resonate for some time to come with any luck. I still think “Slow Down, Samurai” is a better title, but hey… serious record and serious art present. It’s a mission statement. And moreover, you 3 meatballs did alright with this one, and if people have a lick of sense they might actually pay attention.
THE TORCHES ARE LIT! THE TORCHES ARE LIT!