Thats not a knock, by any means. In fact, the record is consistently inventive, engaging, and thought-provoking from start to finish. However, the simple truth is that most A & R men who used any of those words to describe their latest signing would find themselves licking envelopes in the boiler room, but fast.
Perhaps then, its fitting that the trio (whose two key members, drummer Mike Pride and Japanese guitarist Kentaro Saito share a love for and a formal education in experimental jazz) titled their sophomore release Its Deeper Than Most People Actually Think.
According to Pride, whos mainly responsible for planning and executing the bands recorded output, he wanted to make sure people didnt mistake the sloppiness of their first effort for a lack of technique, or worse yet of caring.
That first CD was supposed to sound like that, Pride offers up during a hurried but good-natured phone conversation while the band waits on burgers at a spectacularly unappetizing roadside diner outside Phoenix (It smells like sewage, Pride notes during a lull in our talk).
I think most people who hear this album will be surprised that we actually know how to play our instruments.
It is true that the bands last record did at times sound like a bunch of inexperienced teenagers making a gawd-awful racket. But this release betrays a tremendous amount of effort both in composition and execution.
At times, the hairpin turns and atonal squawks are reminiscent of John Zorns highly revered art-rock project Naked City and at other times the record sounds like the porno-movie soundtrack to one of Becks most feverish nightmares. Either way you cut it, this is one tight, and devious band, and thats what Pride wants people to realize.
People who hear both albums may assume we practiced a lot and got better. Thats just not true. Were trained musicians and always have been. I may have gotten a little tighter on the drums, but Kentaros as good today as he was then, he says.
I design each album to spotlight a different side of what we do. I wanted that CD to be the most annoying rock record ever made, he continues. It was noisy and chaotic, just like our live show. This one was meant to be a studio-heavy, party kind of a record, so theres tons of overdubs and additional stuff on there that lets people know what were capable of.
He says the band including their brand-new bassist Jesse Krakow (who also records with another group for Zorns infamous Tzadik record label) is using this tour to help prepare for the tracking of their next record. Sessions for that disc begin the day after the band gets back home to New York City, and the whole thing should be wrapped up in a week.
The next one will be much more aggressive and hardcore, says Pride. Its gonna be bare bones, just the three of us. This tour is designed to get Jesse up to speed, so that hes ready to go in and knock it out.
Not long after that work is complete, Kentaro will likely return to Japan, where he spends most of his time, earning $50 an hour teaching guitar to wealthy Britons.
Im lucky because I can speak English pretty well, he explains. The British have all the money over there. I teach them guitar and do very well. When were on tour in America, we might each make $250 a week, which is not much. Thats double what we made last time. By next year I think we can make twice as much.
Still, despite their lack of fame and fortune in America, the group has somehow managed to tour Japan (where they also make very little money), but oddly enough Pride says they have become huge stars in Taiwan, of all places.
Were like Aerosmith over there, he chuckles. We headline this big annual festival like Woodstock, and its broadcast on network TV. They buy whatever we bring over even incredibly bad 2-CD sets of me playing the drums. Ill sell all of em in one day and finance our trip to Japan.
So, with a sound that references everyone from The Wallmen to the late Carl Stalling to The Boredoms, does the band consider themselves jazzmen (or punks) who flirt with the avant garde, or the other way around?
To call us either punk or jazz pisses me off, says Pride. Punk implies stupidity, and jazz implies that we only care about the notes and not the live show.
Kentaro, however, disagrees.
Id say were punk.
Leave it to the new guy to keep the peace.
I guess Ill say were jazz, Krakow offers timidly. I really dont want to make any waves.
The Dynamite Club plays The Jinx Saturday night at 10 p.m., with Black Damp and Nuestra Familia.