Wednesday, July 17, 2013

GUEST WRITER: RED FANG'S AARON BEAM ON FEDERATION X

New Federation X
LP gets released this month.
Federation X are using the occasion of Total Fest XII to release the fifth LP of their fifteen year career. We kind of feel like our work (in 2008) may deserve a cover of Peaches and Herb's "Reunited"  for breaking the several year log jam of borderline-break-up stasis following 5 years of grueling and near constant touring and recording. It took calls to different members, it took travel underwriting from KBGA. It took the guarantee of a Missoula/Total Fest audience (which we'll put up against Bellingham -their original hometown- or any other place's audience any day of the week), but they did it, and we were stoked at how good it was. 
Here's the thing we wrote about Federation X in 2008: "Federation X or “Fed X,” as they're known to fans, straddle a couple of types of music so effectively that it's hard to really categorize them. Not exactly metal, punk, stoner or “punch the clock rock,” but with parts of all of the above cobbled into as cohesive a sound as has ever come from the Northwest. Their music definitely tips its cap to heavy forebears like the Melvins, Unwound, Steel Pole Bathtub and KARP.... Fed X’s newest material has the quasi-Springsteen...stamp of the disaffected patriot songwriter who’s alternately sad, reflective and defiant..."
Below follows Aaron Beam's (bassist, Red Fang) guest review of Federation X's new We Do What We Must LP which comes out on the the Molasses Manifesto and Recess labels this month, pre-orders here:
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Aaron Beam: bassist, writer, Unwound shirt-wearer
I planned to do a more thoughtful, thorough review of this record, but as soon as I threw it on my iPod I found myself blurting a bunch of stuff out, and it seemed more appropriate. So here it is...
Ok, I am listening to this record for the 3rd time in a row, having seen them play it live about 5 times now.
First thought - my biggest problem with this record is that there are so many great songs, I can't easily figure out which one is my favorite. Thanks, guys. Alright, moving on...
Federation X write songs I wish I had written. They have mastered the evolution of the riff. Establish a simple theme, then expand and transform/embellish the theme until it becomes more and more intense/driving/fucking awesome and orgasmic. They are like a Pacific Northwest hard rock version of Otis Redding. Does that sound crazy? Seriously, though, they build songs to emotional climaxes in a way very reminiscient of the master.
"We Do What We Must" is a more fully realized vision of the songwriting power hinted at on their previous efforts ("Hatchetman" from "American Folk Horror") . Apart from being filled with shit kicking riffs, a more mature melodic sense pervades. "Sight on Demand" might be the poster child for this transformation, but the album abounds with instant classics - "Bitter Hands," "So Tired," Sight on Demand," and "An Nur" are those songs that are all vying for top spot. I am listening to "An Nur" again right now, so it is currently in the lead. However...

"So Tired" is the song that perhaps first brought to mind the Otis Redding comparison. but now that I listen to it again, it seems like it could almost be like a modernized Shangri-Las, given the sparse, tom-heavy backbeat, and plaintive vocals over muted guitar riffs. Shit, this is a good song!
Ok, I just went back and listened to "Bitter Hands" again and I think that one is the clear winner. Well, until I listen to one of these other songs again. Oh, and don't that because I keep mentioning these four songs that the other songs on the record are worth skipping! "Bear Hug" is a barn-burner, "Anna Mist" a tear-jerker, "Maybe We'll Die Young" jumps out of the gates and is a perfect opener to the record.

Goddammit, I am starting to get mad that I don't play in this band. Maybe I can convince them they need a bass/keyboard player? Hmm...

I don't know what else to say except I love this album and it will be on very consistent rotation in the tour van for the next year. (Aaron Beam)

2 comments:

William Badgley said...

Secure your copy of the new Fed X record here! http://fedx.bandcamp.com/album/federation-x-we-do-what-we-must

And check out the Fed X Facebook page for info on what they're up to. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Federation-X/10412627066

Anonymous said...

Fed X rules!