Monday, October 25, 2010

Mish math, I was taking a bath in kind words

Big Up to Delusions of Adequacy for typing such nice things about Coin Under Tongue's Reception into an html document, and then uploading said document to a server where people from around the world can access it by way of any number of compliant browsers. "

With endorsements from Spoon’s Britt Daniel and the legendary Julian Cope, Coin Under Tongue comes with a promise to deliver on its new album Reception. Further adding to its pedigree, the album is released by Death By Audio — the home of A Place To Bury Strangers’ Oliver Ackermann. So, what’s the music like?

If you remember the band Swell, you’ve got a head start on understanding the sound of Coin Under Tongue. As a reference point, both bands trade on sharp lyrics and a veering between stripped-down and amped-up compositions. Coin Under Tongue, though, gets heavier than Swell ever did, throwing in some really fuzzed-out guitar and bass (“Night Weed,” “Beyond Yes”) and throwback riffing. “Beyond Yes” does a little ransacking of Mudhoney’s playbook when it wants to make its points. On “Junksmith,” the opening measures of feedback and subsequent guitar work show the influence of Ackermann’s approach to electric guitar. What’s curious about Coin Under Tongue’s sound is the way the drums sound thin and rough. Bands usually go for a sonic aesthetic and apply it equally to all instruments, but here the guitars sound like they’re played in an aircraft hangar while the drums sound like they were recorded in someone’s basement.

The title track “Reception” seems to have to do with a wedding reception at first, but with a line like “Coming through loud and clear,” it might be that the band is playing with a double meaning here (as in “receiving” a signal). The caterwauling vocals and guitars infuse this one with a menacing aspect that makes it anything but the genteel affair usually connoted by weddings generally.

“Seizure In The Stairwell” goes for unadorned, Waits-/Swell-like tunesmithing but there’s a low, rumbling presence lurking in the background. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Liars-like aggro experimentalism of “Conflicted,” whose nearly tuneless bursts of noise and screamed singing show the band’s raw side. There’s a decent amount of unusual pairing of musical styles on this album, and if it weren’t for the band’s competent melding of these styles it might come off as accidental or unfocused. How many bands would’ve or could’ve penned a cut like “Dogma Sheen,” where an 80s-style guitar intro (repeated during bridges) turns into a grimy, sludge-covered wall of noise? Not many, really, not many." - thanks David!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

the report of the day

There will be a large review from le rapport du jour of Coin Under Tongue's Reception bookended by quotation marks directly after this sentence. "Coin Under Tongue: What an astringent jolt of a band name! Check this here review of their latest joint (rolled with metal shavings and warehouse dust):
“I came out of my shell - Into a cutesy neon hell,” sings Joe Kelly near the beginning of Coin Under Tongue’s new album, Reception, and during seven of the record’s nine songs, he does some serious screaming about it. As Kelly depicts his urban experience with a profusion of lyrics and a searing mixture of refined and unrefined post-punk guitar, bassist George Wilson and a trio of drummers (including regular band member Greg Wilson) help kick up a slamdance with metal polyrhythms that ground the noise.
Album opener “Beyond Yes,” which includes Kelly’s nifty description of the Bedford scene, invades the ears with twisted, trebly guitar cuttings and a vocal as deliciously distorted as Kurt Cobain’s on parts of Nevermind. “Dogma Sheen” clears the air with a volley of clean, Cure-like chords before the assault begins anew, and Kelly’s playing incorporates hints of Wire and P.I.L. during a luminous solo in “Junksmith.” After a mid-album respite comprised of a folk protest and a noir narrative, the volume rises again with “Reception,” a song that begins as a doom-metal dirge and quickly goes hardcore. With vivid, economic images that would make a writing teacher proud, Kelly screams about a wedding party that seems perfectly enjoyable, but instead features “a couple frozen in its prime.” It’s not the best song on the album, but the contrast between the singer’s perspective and the scene he describes is disturbing and rare.
In fact, it’s during the closing “Strong Things,” a mixed acoustic and electric song, when you start to realize that Kelly is a pretty good lyricist, something which can get lost underneath the sheer quantity of the words. “I know your schedule’s pretty packed / Mine’s just started unraveling,” he sings, over a strand of winsome, acoustic guitar, about an ex-lover from home who’s started to make it in New York. “It’s hard to hold onto strong things,” he later drones, applying a dab of lustrous black to the neon he sees around him. Kelly swipes a Stephen Malkmus chord progression to make the point, but the instrumental squall that follows is all Coin Under Tongue." - Thanks Philippe!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Must We Tolerate Mass Culture?

Another Coin Under Tongue shout-out popped up this weekend, courtesy of

How Much Longer Must We Tolerate Mass Culture:

"Coin Under Tongue, meanwhile seem to be re imagining late-70's, early-80's post Punk ( Gang of Four, Bauhaus, No Wave) as a kind of sludgey Big Rock. Kind of like what would happen if Big Black had been more Led Zep fans, and less Killing Joke fans. That means snappy, trebley bass lines, with tons of feedback guitars, but plenty of spidery reverb-drenched arpeggios as well."