Saturday, 7 March 2015

Glassjaw

I've noticed a ton of requests for this band lately, and they are just too good to avoid not sharing. So, here you go, Glassjaw.


In every genre, there are a small handful of bands/artists that can be seen as "defining". Within the realm of post-hardcore, Glassjaw are undoubtedly one of those bands. Try listening to any post-hardcore band that came after 2000, and the influence is apparent. Perhaps in addition to At The Drive-In and Refused, Glassjaw are the single most important band of their era to impact their genre, and still are today. This is not to discount the influence of their forefathers, Big Black, Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu, Unwound, etc., Glassjaw were just one of the first bands to solidify "the shape of punk to come" in the new millennium.

The history of Glassjaw is certainly a detailed and lengthy one. Their origins lie in Long Island, New York. They planted their seeds in 1993, when their members were just 14. The two most notable members, vocalist Daryl Palumbo and guitarist Justin Beck, who was initially their drummer until 1998, were part of this first line-up. Through the mid-90's, Glassjaw shifted through numerous other members and recorded a handful of demos. The only other notable member that came around at this time was guitarist Todd Weinstock, who played with Beck in another band called Sons of Abraham. Weinstock would go on to be the only member besides Palumbo and Beck to play on both Glassjaw albums.


The band's debut EP, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was released in 1997. Though the band was still young, the unadulterated talent and passion is self-evident. Palumbo's vocals are a rabid animal not yet fully harnessed, but still desperate to be unleashed. His lyrics are poetic and personal, which is something he would just continue to perfect. The instrumentals and songs are pounding, yet hints to their later experimental aspects. Following Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Beck switched to guitar, and a new drummer and bassist were brought in. This lineup recorded a session with Don Fury, who has worked with a ton of amazing bands, including Quicksand, Madball, Agnostic Front, Gorilla Biscuits, Sick Of It All, and Born Against, among others. The songs recorded for this session would be re-recorded for their debut full-length, which would be released a year later.


Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence was released in 2000. It was produced by Ross Robinson (who would also record At The Drive-In's Relationship Of Command, as well as albums by Korn and Slipknot). It was released on Roadrunner Records, which Glassjaw have continually spoken out against following the release of this record. Perhaps what most defines EYEWTKAS is its most obvious feature: the anger. I would go as far to say that no album has ever come out as angry as this one (though there are obviously numerous contenders). The songs on here are explosive, and always tightly-wound, even during the more spacious songs ("Her Middle Was Boom", "When One Eight Become Two Zeros"). They seamlessly switch between intensive anger-fests to melodic choruses ("Siberian Kiss", "Lovebites And Razorlines"). Instrumentally, their sharp, noisy guitar leads are backed by thick chords and a deep, pulsating bass. They explore virtually every dynamic possible, whether they be catchy choruses, frenzied scream-offs, or quiet melodic moments, which can be anything from dark to uplifting. Not only do they manage to include different dynamics, but manage to switch between them numerous times in a single song, and make it work. Their songs become more spastic and energized because of it, and their execution of it is flawless. Above all of that, what makes Glassjaw the band they are is the lyrics and vocals, courtesy of Daryl Palumbo. His vocals here are perhaps the best display of his many singing styles. On songs like "Siberian Kiss", "Babe", and "Lovebites And Razorlines", his screaming is a scary thing, since the anger is so palpable. At the same time, his clean singing is fully demonstrated, on both slower songs like "Her Middle Name Was Boom", or heavier ones like "Pretty Lush". His lyrical subject matter is quite focused on this album, with most songs being an attack on a particular girl he was involved in. This can be incredibly harsh sometimes, and borders on misogynistic, but can almost be seen as reasonable from Palumbo's perspective, because of the honesty and passion he evokes. The songs and emotions are incredibly confrontational, and clearly personal, so I tend to listen to it with that in mind. He also touches upon his Crohn's Disease, which is a recurring theme in all of Glassjaw's music, and is especially focused on the title track here.


The band quickly got to work on their second full-length, though with a new bassist and drummer. Worship And Tribute was released in 2002, which was also produced by Ross Robinson, but released by Warner Bros. Though a lot of characteristics were similar to their first album, the band's songwriting and influence had grown quite a bit, since they began mixing in elements of jazz, as well as focusing more on their melodic side. However, some songs come off as even heavier than what they were doing before, such as "Pink Roses", "Stuck Pig", and "Mu Empire". There still are some songs, such "Tip Your Bartender", "Cosmopolitan Bloodloss", and "Radio Cambodia" that show the band isn't wavering from what they do best. Palumbo's lyrics also expand in terms of subject manner, and are based in thought and external issues, rather than the personal/emotional aspect that pervaded EYEWTKAS. This is due in part to being written just after 9/11, thus why a lot of the lyrics take a more political stance. Overall, it is a much more cohesive effort, since the songs were all written at the same time, and crafted as an album, instead of the very individual songs on their debut. This album is just as perfect as its predecessor, but unfortunately still has no formal successor.


The band didn't last long after Worship And Tribute, since they took a hiatus. Palumbo began focusing on his other project, Head Automatica. All other members except Palumbo and Beck were fired from the band as well. This hiatus didn't last long, since they soon filled out the line-up with bassist Manuel Carraro and drummer Durijah Lang, who would round out the Glassjaw line-up to this present day. For many years, the band was not fully active, and only played festivals for the most part. They released an EP in 2005, titled El Mark, which were leftover B-sides from Worship And Tribute. There were many rumours about an entirely new album, but only hints were given. Some songs were recorded, some played live, but nothing would be properly released until 2010. They released a string of singles throughout 2010 that were compiled on 2011's Our Color Green (The Singles). They released another EP in 2011, titled Coloring Book. These two releases show just how good of a band they still are, with some of these songs not only being some of their best, and some of their heaviest, surprisingly. Unfortunately, no material has come from them since then. They've done a handful of shows and festival sets, but no news about an album has come about.

1. Hipocrite
2. Powertool
3. Kira
4. I'm Caught
5. To Roosevelt
6. Interlude / Faust
7. Shadows Fall
8. Shadows Fall (Take 2 )
9. Shadows Fall (Take 3)
10. Faust (Two Takes) / Golgo 13 The Impossible Hit
11. Kira - I'm Caught
12. The Rope That Held Me / Powertool

1. The Vermont Connection
2. Star Above My Bed
3. Our Colour Green
4. Pravada
5. I'm Caught/The Dead Tech Apart
6. A Rockwell Portrait

1. Shadows Fall
2. Faust
3. Hipocrite
4. The Impossible Hit
5. Kira
6. I'm Caught
7. The Rope That Held Me
8. Powertool
9. To Roosevelt

1. Black Coffee
2. The Snow Veil
3. Star Above My Bed
4. Pink Roses And The Graveyard
5. Vermont Connection
6. Faust

1. Flagburning Dakota (Demo)
2. Last Kiss (Demo)
3. Motel Of The White Locust (Demo)
4. Ry Ry's Song (Demo)
5. When One Eight Becomes Two Zeros (Demo)

1. Pretty Lush (Demo)
2. Ry Ry's Song (Demo)
3. Majour (Demo)
4 Flag Burning Dakota (Demo)
5. When One Eight Becomes Two Zeros (Demo)
6. Star Above My Bed (Demo)
7. Matchbook Blackbook (Demo)
8. Motel of The White Locust (Demo)
9. Untitled (Train In Vain) (Demo)
10. Family Of Five (Pre-Production)

1. Pretty Lush
2. Siberian Kiss
3. When One Eight Becomes Two Zeros
4. Ry Ry's Song
5. Lovebites And Razorlines
6. Hurting And Shoving (She Should Have Let Me Sleep)
7. Majour
8. Her Middle Name Was Boom
9. Piano
10. Babe
11. Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence
12. Hotel of The White Locust

1. Ry Ry's Song
2. Siberian Kiss (Edit)
3. Modern Love Story
4. Convectuoso


1. Tip Your Bartender
2. Mu Empire
3. Cosmopolitan Bloodloss
4. Ape Dos Mil
5. Pink Roses
6. Must've Run All Day
7. Stuck Pig
8. Radio Cambodia
9. The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports
10. Trailer Park Jesus
11. Two Tabs of Mescaline
12. Convectuoso

1. El Mark
2. The Number No Good Things Can Come Of
3. Oxycodone

1. Pew Pew
2. You Think You're (John Fucking Lennon)
3. Tip Your Bartender
4. Mu Empire
5. Stars
6. (Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid)
7. Ape Dos Mil
8. Cavalcade
9. Stuck Pig
10. (Daryl Gets Confused)
11. Pink Roses
12. Pretty Lush
13. Lovebites And Razorlines
14. (Holidays)
15. Jesus Glue
16. Natural Born Farmer
17. All Good Junkies Go To Heaven
18. El Mark
19. Convectuoso
20. Two Tabs
21. Siberian Kiss
22. (Band Intro)
23. Black Nurse
24. Please Don't Let Me Down
25. Vanilla Poltergeist Snake
26. (Talk Talk Talk)
27. Miracles And inches
28. A Song To Break Up To

1. All Good Junkies Go To Heaven
2. Jesus Glue
3. Natural Born Farmer
4. Stars
5. You Think You're (John Fucking Lennon)

1. Black Nurse
2. Gold
3. Vanilla Poltergeist Snake
4. Miracles In Inches
5. Stations Of The New Cross
6. Daytona White

8 comments:

  1. Lack of Deftones on this rather amazing blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is exactly what I thought too when I read it!

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  2. i love glassjaw, my fave was wordship and tribute , tnx for share

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  3. Thanks for putting that effort and sharing all of this with us! Thank you so much!!

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  4. All these demos and ep's and "midwestern stylings" still isn't listed on any. I thought it was on the b side to w&t.

    ReplyDelete