Thursday, September 28, 2006

Harvey Milk : My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment Of What My Love Could Be

The fine staff at Aquarius Records, they done gone did their best to spread the good word of Harvey Milk 'cross all the internets. And lo, I looked upon what they had did, and I was stoked.
You've heard the shit, right? Rules. Like, all time rules. Go to their Myspace, be their friend. It's got my favourite song of theirs, Silly And Small, which has apparently been redubbed Old Glory and thrown on their new album, but I ain't heard that yet. Looks like Courtesy And Good Will Towards Men has been reissued too. I know I told yall I ain't never going back to slangin rock, but ends gotta meet yall, Dave's gotta eat, and I gots ta listen to my Harvey Milk. O-tay.
While Courtesy... may go down as the stone classic, I'm here to say that My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment Of What My Love Could Be is the unpolished gem, less harrowing but just as damaged. And now, cause I know you all been waiting, here's the part where I say the music sounds like a combination of different artists, in this case Neil Young, Mission of Burma and The Melvins, hopefully filling in the blanks for you as to what this really sounds like with minimal effort on my part. But Harvey Milk bring the maximal effort (smooth transition, you like it) And it seems like half of it is abrasive experimentation, like Gastr Del Sol gone all intense and Joe Prestonesque, with just as much wounded glory as the "normal" parts. Speaking of Joe Preston, Creston Spiers sings like Joe Preston going to primal scream therapy, a bruised and battered howl sounding out from deep inside. I heard that Joe Preston, in the grips of a mushroom trip, went out into the woods on a stormy NorthWest night, dug his own shallow grave and laid down in it. Apparently he stayed there for about a day (but probly just till the drugs wore off) until thinking "Fuck this," getting up and leaving. Joe motherfuckin Preston. But this be Creston motherfuckin Spiers. This interview with the original drummer might shed a bit of light:

"I think the sound came from the combination of Creston's classical music training and our different musical tastes. We wanted to be loud and heavy, but Creston brought a whole new element because he studied classical percussion, so the music became more orchestrated. I don't think any of us had any intentions to sound like we did, it just happened naturally."

So I guess we should all just thank the stars that these three got in a room and turned on amps. Listen to the album opener, A Small Turn of Human Kindness. Instruments yawn and clatter like some avant-jazz jammers, a synth melody floats around briefly, only to be briefly revisited in rock trio format about six minutes later, massive fills and detuned chords enter and exit according to some logic I can't decipher, and the album doesn't really spread roots until the next track, Women Dig It. Spiers launches a howl out into the void of plodding drums, and you realise you're listening to classic rock as envisioned by the noblest of savages. By the time The Anvil Will Drop rolls in with fragile falsetto and jazzy chordings, takes a bizarre orchestral detour and finishes with the most heart rending stretch of music I've heard in years, I know my new favourite band is here to stay. This isn't just music to appreciate, it speaks to some need deep inside of me. It tells me that things still matter.
Whoa, what happened, I kinda dazed off for a sec there. So yeah, Jim's Polish is the other highlight, but this album don't got a wasted second. Relapse, Troubleman Unlimited, Southern Lord, anyone, put this and every other moment of Harvey Milk back in print, if not for me then for the good of humanity.
And if you want still more epic amazingness to get misty to, cause you're okay with that, Warmer Milks' Penetration Initials is stunning red state blooze. They pull this half-hour doozy off with help from members of Eyes And Arms Of Smoke, Hair Police and other Kenturkeys, and I'm starting to see why they call it the heartland.
Lastly, if you wanna read a Magik Markers roundup the likes of which I could never muster, although I assume he gets paid by the word, go here. Alright, done.

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