Smoke and Smoke
I have this one friend. This friend of mine, he don’t like the pop music. In fact, I’ve heard him go so far as to say that there is absolutely no strain of reasoning that can justify for him the existence of bands like The Shins. “New Pornographers,” I would say. “Bullshit dime-a-dozen indie pop,” my friend would chime back. He wouldn’t have any of it. If pop fueled guitar, ‘oh oh ohhs,’ or overtly emotive singing came near his ears he would curtly denounce everything that he heard and proclaim it “pussy,” all before bargaining with me so that we could listen to something else. Something that wasn’t pussy. I remember the time I tried to get him interested in The Rapture, although for the sake of my status on this here website I’ll refrain from detail. This friend of mine had a specific taste; one that would leave any Shins fan (OK, only those who found out about them from the Garden State soundtrack) squirming in their headphones. More specifically, my fiend’s CD case usually contained at least two albums by bands who were of some relation/lineage to Scratch Acid. I decided to concur with my pal. Maybe there are too many ‘Shins’ out there. I mean, he’s kinda right. When is the last time we’ve been graced with a band like the Jesus Lizard?
Because I like spreading the word about acts which my more particular friends might like, I introduced him to Smoke and Smoke’s Love Suffers Long. Garbled voices, tortured bass, everything about them screams late 80’s noise mongers, and they aren’t simply a modern take on those types of bands -- these guys have the credentials. Mike Kunka and Dan Haugh were in godheadSilo, Spencer Moody was the singer in Murder City Devils, and Mike and Spencer were also in Dead Low Tide. So no, these guys didn’t recently come across Songs About Fucking and decide to make a band. This shit is the real deal, and so you can imagine the look on my friends face when I put it on.
From the start there is the requisite, consciously juvenile humor that goes hand in hand with music like this. The first track is titled “How Did The Cook Get His Finger Stuck In The Dishwasher?” and yes, there is a play on words there. Haw haw. Next the band jumps into sleazy, dirty bar band mode for the absolutely wicked “Into The Smoke and Smoke.” By now, it’s obvious that these guys are having some fun here. The song is as close to a lo-fi Jesus Lizard as the band is going to get. And like all the other reviews have already told you “Smoke and Smoke don’t give a fuck” about any of it (that lyric is actually in a song). By then my friend had almost had a fit with my surprising display of taste. I then skipped over to “Strike Lightning Strike” with it’s hideously manipulated bass hits and throat shredding chorus (“The forest was already on fire when the lightning struck!”).
This friend and I, we managed to settle some of our musical differences, even compromising a little in the end. He’d borrow my copy of The Walkmen’s Bows and Arrows to explore while I would listen attentively to Rapeman in his apartment. And when we’re both in the car flipping through CD’s, Love Suffers Long more often then not is what comes spewing from the speakers.
- Andrew Iliadis
/mar 15th 2005/