Tuesday, July 30, 2013


There’s something thoroughly unique and liberating about music that’s down-tuned, too loud and features essentially a single sort of plodding riff, for as long as you want. If you’ve ever made the journey of Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” or Eyehategod’s “Dopesick” records on headphones, or a pretty solid set of stereo speakers, you know what I’m talking about. I picked those not because the word "dope" is in both titles (it’s a different kind of dope that each is talking about), but because of the sheer sonic heft of each.
There’s a commonly heard couple of critiques leveled against loud raunchy music by squares and newcomers to the stuff: 1) “I can’t hear what they’re saying” and 2) “it’s awfully repetitive.” These are interesting critiques examined individually because they sort of start with the premise that lyrics must be understandable (typically lyrics can be read when they’re not readily discernible) and the more complex a music, the better. When you really think about both those things, they’re a little counter intuitive. 

Sometimes, delivery of a weird set of god-knows-what-the-fuck-this-is-about-anyway lyrics is what it’s all about. And sure, that delivery makes understanding the whole thing a little harder, but who said life was easy? Especially with music that is about addiction, like Dopesick is. The words sound like they’re causing somebody pain, or are just belted in such a forceful way that they could be reading the Book Of Mormon and it wouldn’t matter. Then, on to this “gosh, it’s awfully repetitive” critique: Sure it is. But sometimes when you’ve got a good riff, what you want to do is simply repeat it for 30 minutes, and let it take the listener somewhere unique. The band Om with 2/3 of  the Sleep personnel have taken that idea to perhaps it’s full zenith, where it's either completely sublime listening or it’s an exercise in patience for the unprepared. 

I tend to think this is a world where technical virtuosity and guitar music can co-exist really well, but so often in the case of music attempting to be heavy, it’s a net loss when it’s too complex. Certainly dudes like Mick Barr and Colin Marston are some good exceptions to that rule. To me at least, heavy music is all about the feeling. The viscera-pummel, the Crover drums, the feedback, the great tones, and all of that. That’s what it’s about. And seeing it live is the best entre, as with most things rock and roll. 

With that intro, we offer up the band Towers from Portland, Oregon. Land of the tall cedars, deep canyons, high deserts and err, all that. Towers are touring with Dead, are stalwart riffers, and they’ve got a unique heavy vibe we’re stoked to see/hear and feel what they do!

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