Back again for another vinyl edition of SceneSC’s summer jams. This edition is all about influences: your bands’ favorite bands. These two artists have been major forces behind the evolution of their respective genres and their music is just as relevant as it was the day these records were released, if not more so. So, here we go with Vinyl Jams #3:
First off, we’ve got Drive Like Jehu’s Bullet Train To Vegas/Hand Over Fist 7″ single. I stumbled on this band a few years back while reading through Wikipedia bios of assorted bands. I kept seeing this band mentioned over and over, so I tracked it down on OiNK (RIP). From the minute I heard the tracks Human Interest and Do You Compute? off of Yank Crime, I was absolutely sold. This particular release dates back to 1992, a couple years before Yank Crime, but it perfectly showcases this bands’ unique brand of angular post-hardcore. Think of these guys as an early Sonic Youth meets a My War-era Black Flag. Listening to them was a complete ah-ha moment for me, and the more I listened to them, the more I start to feel like I understood where some many of my favorite songs by later bands were rooted. This was definitely spinning on the turntables of your favorite artists from the first generation of bands that got assigned the “emo” label during their time, like The Get Up Kids, At The Drive-In, and Jimmy Eat World as well as some heavier acts like the Deftones. In fact, Jehu was so much of an influence to Jimmy Eat World that later on, Jehu’s drummer Mark Trombino was tapped to produce most of their catalog, including the seminal Clarity and the upcoming Invented (due out 9/28). Members of Jehu band went on the be part of more recognizable acts Rocket From The Crypt and Hot Snakes, both of which you should track down as well.
Next up, I’ve got Pedro The Lion’s Progress EP. This 7″ version of the EP features two of the four tracks on the CD version, and is packaged with a clever children’s story about a girl’s love for air guitar written by Jen Buchenberger and illustrated by Rob Patterson that works so well in juxtaposition to the songs. Musically, this is classic David Bazan, with an expertly-written pair of songs, titled after their setting, that are both catchy enough to pop in your head hours after listening and dark enough to make you feel suddenly gloomy when they do, especially as the guitars ring out just before the drums come in on January 18, 1976. If these songs don’t break your heart, it’s only because you weren’t listening. Bazan has everything to do with why a lot of indie bands out there today decided to pick up guitars in the first place, and helped bridge the gap between Christian and secular music during his time fronting Pedro The Lion, but his influence goes beyond just music. His bold questions about what it means to be human and struggles with the nature of faith that he discusses so matter-of-factly at his shows and in his songs are something everyone can relate to, and it’s this rare openness and prominence as an artist that have combined to establish him as a reluctant role model for the young and lost. You can’t go wrong with any of the material Bazan has written over the years, but if you haven’t heard him yet, this release is a great place to start.